Nasrallah 'strongly endorses' Arab reconciliation efforts

March 16, 2009

BEIRUT (Daily Star) -- Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Friday any form of Arab rapprochement should be “strongly endorsed,” and stressed that his party will not recognize the state of Israel, “not now and not in a thousand years.” Speaking during a rally at the Sayyed Ash-Shudada complex in Beirut's southern suburbs, to mark Prophet Mohammad's birthday and the start of the Week of Islamic Unity, Nasrallah said Arab reconciliation should be “welcomed and endorsed.”

After almost four years of tensions that escalated during Israel's three-week offensive on Gaza in January, the leaders of Saudi Arabia King Abdallah, Syria Bashar Assad, and Egypt Hosni Mubarak met in Riyadh on Wednesday in a bid to mend rifts.
“Arab reconciliation gives strength to all of us,” Nasrallah told thousands of supporters.
However, Wednesday's talks are seen by many as a Saudi effort to curb Iran's regional influence and show a united front ahead of an Arab summit in Qatar later this month.
Nasrallah, meanwhile called on Arab leaders converge with states that “show support to the Arab causes such as Turkey, Iran, and Venezuela.”
Touching on the issue of whether the United States might hold dialogue with Hezbollah and Hamas, Nasrallah said the U.S. intentions were “never innocent or ethical.”
“You have to know,” he said, “that the U.S. sees it is now forced to hold dialogue with countries such as Syria and organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas only because they realized that all their policies have failed in the region.”
The Hezbollah chief explained that the U.S. sets two main conditions for any dialogue with his party
“They want U.S. to recognize the state of Israel and to renounce all forms of violence, or in other words all forms of resistance,” he said.
“We reject those two conditions,” Nasrallah said, adding his party has “its own conditions to start any dialogue with the U.S.”
He said the U.S. was willing to build the best of ties with Hezbollah if the latter recognizes the existence of the state of Israel.
“We will not recognize Israel, not today, not tomorrow, not in a thousand years,” Nasrallah added.
The Hezbollah leader added that only “the weak and the subdued might recognize Israel.”
Moving to local politics, the Sayyed said the opposition did not fear the upcoming June 7 parliamentary elections.
“The opposition has nothing to loose in those elections,” he said, adding that if the opposition lost it would preserve its current status inside the Parliament.”
Nasrallah rejected accusations by the parliamentary majority that the opposition was trying to obstruct the elections for fear of loosing. “The elections are the opposition's chance to win the majority in Parliament; thus we are clinging to have a calm and stable security situation so that elections take place on time,” Nasrallah said.
Turning to other regional issues, Nasrallah said the International Criminal Court's decision to issue an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was “invalid.”
“I wonder why this court never shrugged at the sight of Israeli massacres against civilians in Lebanon during the summer 2006 war and more recently in Gaza,” he added.