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Nasrallah reveals insights into his relationship with Hariri on 15-09-2005

Nasrallah reveals insights into his relationship with Hariri on 15-09-2005
folder_openReports-2005 access_time11 years ago
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source: Daily Star, 15-9-2005.

summary: BEIRUT: In an intimate and personal interview late Tuesday night, Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah spoke of his "cordial and historic" relationship with the late Premier Rafik Hariri, and vowed to hold a meeting with the late leader`s son, majority leader Saad Hariri, in the near future.
"The moment of Hariri`s assassination distressed me deeply as its effect fell on the country like an earthquake," Nasrallah said.‏‏
"If the investigation team [probing the Hariri assassination] and the court provides hard evidence against the accused parties, let them hang in Martyrs` Square," the resistance`s leader said, insisting that the investigation be confined to its judicial parameters and not be exploited for political gain.‏‏
"I have been assured this will not happen," he said.‏‏
But Nasrallah did not rule out the likelihood that major political changes will occur once the report`s findings are revealed.‏‏
Nasrallah said the truth does not belong solely to the Hariri family, but also to the Lebanese people who "will not feel free until we reach the truth."‏‏
He confirmed that contacts with Saad Hariri have been ongoing and that a meeting between the two national leaders is being arranged.‏‏
Tuesday`s interview, broadcast on Future Television and conducted by Zahi Wehbi, was widely viewed as being the first time that Nasrallah has revealed a more personal side since assuming the helm of Hizbullah`s leadership. While maintaining complete composure, the cleric publicly commemorated the 10th anniversary of his son`s martyrdom while fighting the "Israeli" occupation of the South.‏‏
"I was deeply touched by Hariri`s initiative to liberate the prisoners, particularly when he insisted that my son`s body be included," he said, adding that he was tongue-tied when Hariri proposed naming a road after Hadi Nasrallah; "we love all martyrs equally."‏‏
Nasrallah recalled his numerous secret and public meetings with Hariri, emphasizing the importance of the one which took place a week prior to the former premier`s assassination.‏‏
"The last meeting was a historic one, where Hariri brought with him two of his aides and stayed until late at night.‏‏
"We agreed on the need to strengthen the state and its institutions, resist the calls for federations or attempts at dividing the country," Nasrallah said.‏‏
He added that Hariri also stated his trust in the wisdom of Hizbullah`s leadership, and that he would have resigned from office if he was forced to disarm the resistance before the Arab-"Israeli" conflict is resolved.‏‏
Nasrallah said that Hariri also spoke openly about European and American plans to settle Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and divide the country.‏‏
The first meetings between the Shiite and Sunni leaders came in 1992, Nasrallah said, when relations were still cool.‏‏
"The relationship remained chilly until Hariri visited the Hizbullah leadership to pay his condolences for the martyrdom of former Secretary General Abbas Musawi," he added.‏‏
From that point on, he said, "serious discussions" cleared many of their differences over the "clash of two different approaches to how to liberate the South from ""Israeli"" occupation.‏‏
"We in Hizbullah," Nasrallah said, "believed in the resistance as a primary choice, presuming Hariri was only committed to peace negotiations with "Israel"."‏‏
Through their regular weekly meetings, held mostly in private, the two men found enough common ground to be able to address difficult issues.‏‏
"We managed to work out a formula that balanced between our armed resistance and Hariri`s political and development program," Nasrallah said.‏‏
But the shooting of six citizens by army troops during a demonstration over rising fuel prices in Hay al-Sellom in 2004 signaled the turning point in the relationship between Nasrallah and Hariri. According to the Hizbullah leader, the two men`s coming together over the tragedy changed a previously cordial relationship into "an intimate friendship."‏‏
"It was essential for us to develop trust and confidence in our friendship," he said.‏‏
It was Hariri`s wish, Nasrallah explained, to keep the meeting secret because he felt his official ties and responsibilities to the international community would only hamper his efforts to assist the resistance.‏‏
Commenting on the present state of affairs in Lebanon, Nasrallah dismissed claims of impending sectarian strife.‏‏
"I am open to working with all Lebanese leaders without any reservations," he said.‏‏
However, he said he had been disappointed by the annual statement from the Maronite Bishops` Council.‏‏
"It is an unacceptable insult to label the resistance as an armed faction in the face of unarmed Lebanese factions."‏‏