Saturday, March 31, 2007

Drapeau du Hezbollah  BEIRUT: Hizbollah’s number two said on Friday that the resistance group welcomes the presence of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) "as long as it abides by its missions and does not overstep its jurisdiction." In an interview with Sawt Ash-Shaab radio station, Sheikh Naim Quassem said that the presence of UNIFIL troops in South Lebanon "is welcome – provided that the peacekeeping force supports the Lebanese Army in preventing any armed presence and preventing Israel from attacking the South."

"Hizbullah does not have any problem with UNIFIL… [and] the relation remains positive," Qassem said.

Qassem said some parties are trying to sow discord between UNIFIL and Hizbullah, adding that "strife cannot be instigated with the resistance group."

"Our resistance is ready to defy a second Israeli attack on Lebanon, should the need arise," he added.

Asked about Hizbullah’s position on Israel’s continued violations of Lebanese airspace, Qassem said that the party "leaves the issue for the international community, the UN Security Council, Arab countries and the Lebanese people."

"Those violations only prove Israel’s hostility [against Lebanon]," Qassem added.

"They also prove that Israel does not abide by international resolutions," he added.

Qassem accused the UN Security Council of not assuming its responsibility in this regard.

Addressing supporters of the government and the March 14 Forces, Qassem asked, "Why don’t you condemn the Israeli violations of Lebanon’s airspace in your speeches and statements and international silence regarding them?"

"Hizbullah has the means to defy such violations … but we are still patient and we hope that officials manage to stop Israel’s violations," he said.

Qassem also lashed out at Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt for his rhetoric, which he said creates tension.