Friday, January 20, 2012

Lebanese Army Leader urges Hezbollah to disarm

From The Daily Star (Lebanon), 19 January, 2012:
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea arrives to attend a meeting in Bkirki, Lebanon, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. (The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea believes the Syrian regime is doomed to fall, and is urging Hezbollah to make a historic deal to disarm.

“The situation in Syria is getting more complicated. The regime of President Bashar Assad will inevitably fall because it has become weak and lacks internal, Arab and international legitimacy,” Geagea said in an interview with the local newspaper As-Safir.

He said the regime's collapse was “just a matter of time, nothing else."

In light of the situation in Syria, Geagea called on Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, to consider disarming and to change its domestic orientation.
“I believe that it is in Hezbollah’s interest to quickly begin repositioning itself internally,” he said.
“And if I were in their [Hezbollah’s] shoes ... I would take an immediate and brave step, which could be difficult, but is nevertheless necessary, to engage in serious and direct negotiations with the main [Lebanese] parties ... so as to reach a historic compromise on arms and all other pending issues, because we must admit that Lebanon cannot continue to exist without the Shiites,” Geagea said in the interview published Thursday.
“The sooner the party [Hezbollah] negotiates the better, because changes [in Syria] will gradually reduce the value of weapons ... which will eventually become a burden for [Hezbollah],” he added.
Political analysts say Hezbollah would be negatively affected should the uprising in Syria expand.
Turning to the March 14 coalition to which Geagea belongs, the LF chief said he expects Future Movement leader Saad Hariri to return to Lebanon soon.
While revealing that preparations for Hariri’s comeback were underway, Geagea said that March 14 was putting together a “comprehensive strategy for dealing with the present and the future.”
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