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Nasrallah delivers ultimatum to government on talks

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Tuesday October 31, 2006

Beirut- The chief of Hezbollah. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. late Tuesday delivered an ultimatum to Lebanese leaders to make a success out of next week's government negotiations with Hezbollah or face street violence from the militant Lebanese group. In an interview with the Hezbollah-run al Manar television, Nasrallah also charged that the anti-Syrian majority in the government was implementing a US plan to transfer Lebanon "into a second Iraq."

His remarks fed political tensions in this Middle Eastern country, which just months ago was the scene of all out war between Israel and Hezbollah over the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers at the border.

The Hezbollah chief called on the Lebanese anti-Syrian majority "not to waste the chance of meeting next Monday for discussions to form a national unity government."

"All Lebanese parties should be included in this government ... we do not mind if the current Prime Minister Fouad Seniora stays and we can enlarge the current cabinet," Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah warned that if the meeting which was called for by Hezbollah's allym House Speaker Nabih Berri fails, it would provoke his group and their pro-Syrian followers to take the streets and demonstrate and push the current cabinet to resign.

Hezbollah has currently two ministers inside the cabinet, but their ally, Christian hardliner Michel Aoun, is not included. Nasrallah said that he does not want only Aoun to be included in the national unity cabinet but other "influential political parties."

Nasrallah was referring to some political parties who were loyal to Syria, when Damascus was the main power broker in Lebanon before the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005.

"They (anti-Syrian majority) are trying to transform Lebanon into a second Iraq or Afghanistan. This is a project that is dangerous for Lebanon," Nasrallah said in an interview with the Hezbollah-run al Manar television.

Nasrallah charged that the ruling anti-Syrian majority are willing to transform the UNIFIL force in southern Lebanon to an occupation force to disarm his movement.

UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which ended 33-days of Israeli offensive on Lebanon on August 14, stipulated that a beefed- up United Nation Interim Force in southern Lebanon alongside the Lebanese army monitor the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Disarming Hezbollah is not within the mission of the UN forces which deployed in southern Lebanon after August 14.

Nasrallah charged that "the UN resolution which stopped the war on Lebanon was only to serve the interest of Israel."

The Hezbollah chief called on the Lebanese anti-Syrian majority "not to waste the chance of meeting next Monday for discussions to form a national unity government."

"All Lebanese parties should be included in this government ... we do not mind if the current Prime Minister Fouad Seniora stays and we can enlarge the current cabinet," Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah stressed that his group " wants to know who killed Premier Hariri and we do not want to cover up for anyone behind this murder."

The Hezbollah chief touched on some reservations on the formation of an international court to try suspects in the Hariri and said "we want guarantees that such a court will be a court that give justice and put the real criminals behind bars."

The Hezbollah chief in reference to his movement's arms said that his group still has 20,000 rockets as he announced before and is stronger than it used to be before the July 12.

"The resistance is ready and strong as ever and it will not and will never be defeated," he added.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency