BEIRUT: Following his first meeting  with U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman after the statement of understanding was inked between the Free Patriotic Movement and Hizbullah, FPM leader MP Michel Aoun said the meeting was an opportunity to explain to Feltman certain terms so the document would not be misunderstood. Last Monday, Hizbullah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Aoun issued a joint statement of understanding in support of the arms of the resistance so long as there are occupied Lebanese territories.

The statement also calls for national dialogue to resolve pending issues, implement democracy, draft a new electoral law, establish a strong and modern country and resolve the security situation. peaking from Rabieh, Aoun said the statement was put within its framework, adding the FPM is ready to provide any information to any person wishing to inquire about it. Asked about negative criticism the initiative drew, especially from U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch, Aoun emphasized "there was no negative criticism, only a request to explain certain terms."

In an indirect allusion to the FPM-Hizbullah agreement, Welch conveyed Friday his administrations concern about any Lebanese-Lebanese understandings that can hinder the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559.

The resolution in part calls for the disarmament of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militia.

Commenting on the Baabda-Aley by-elections, Aoun said: "A candidate should meet certain terms and have a representative quality to be a compromise candidate and by that we mean candidate Pierre Dakkash." He said the FPM decided to grant Dakkash the freedom of affiliation.

Asked why Syria decided to release 88 Lebanese detainees from its jails and whether this decision resulted from the FPM-Hizbullah understanding, Aoun said the Lebanese people must learn to criticize what is broadcast on television and to learn to observe things from a positive perspective.

Over the weekend, Syrian sources revealed to As-Safir newspaper that a list of 88 Lebanese convicted with various crimes in Syria was delivered by the Syrian authorities to the Lebanese government. The sources said many of these detainees are expected to be released from prison within the coming weeks.

"We leave it to the people to assess our deeds and we do not wish to comment so that we do not interpret facts," he added.

Commenting on the maps displayed Sunday by Druze leader Walid Jumblatt to prove the Syrian identity of the Shebaa Farms, Aoun said a probe should be started into the issue, adding that only the government can prove the identity of the Farms as it is the only authority which released the relevant title deeds.

"As long as the title deeds are issued by the Lebanese authorities, the land is Lebanese; had they been issued by Syria the farms would have been Syrian," he added. – The Daily Star