Nasrallah prepares for protests

Hezbollah leader accuses the Lebanese government of being pro-US.

    Hassan Nasrallah said that any protests should be peaceful and respect public property


    Nasrallah's calls for demonstrations come amid mounting political and sectarian tensions in Lebanon as a result of a power struggle between rival factions in the wake of the Hezbollah's 34-day war with Israel last summer.

    The armed Shia group, which is backed by Syria and Iran, has demanded that Lebanon form a national unity government that would essentially give it and its allies veto power over major decisions.

    But negotiations among groups broke down last week, and six cabinet ministers, including two from Hezbollah, resigned.

    "Let's form a national unity government ... Nobody is raising arms, nobody is making a coup ..."

    Hassan Nasrallah,
    Hezbollah leader

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    The Hezbollah leader repeated his demand for the unity government as a way out of the current crisis that has crippled political life, but he denied that his group was seeking veto power or trying to overthrow the government of Fouad Siniora, the Western-backed prime minister.

    "Come, let's form a national unity government ... Nobody is raising arms, nobody is making a coup or popular revolution," he said.

    US influence

    Nasrallah accused Siniora of falling under the influence of the US.

    "This is the government of Feltman and not the government of prime minister Fouad Siniora," Nasrallah said, referring to Jeffrey Feltman, the US ambassador to Lebanon.

    The US has repeatedly reaffirmed its support for the Siniora government, which is dominated by anti-Syrian factions.

    "We want to liberate our country from the hegemony of ambassador Feltman and the bloodsucker Rice," he said, referring to Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state.

    Saad al-Hariri told Al Jazeera that
    Lahoud had a lot to answer for

    On Sunday, Al Jazeera aired interviews of Emile Lahoud, the Lebanese president, and Saad al-Hariri, the head of Lebanon's governing Future Bloc and son of the assassinated former prime minister, Rafiq al-Hariri.

    Lahoud, an opponent of the Siniora government, told Al Jazeera's correspondent in Lebanon Zeina Khodr that a national unity government would be formed no matter what. But he added that his stand would not provoke a violent reaction.

    "Believe me, there won't be trouble in Lebanon. There could have been demonstrations, peaceful demonstrations, like before. But now the stakes are too high."

    For his part, al-Hariri said Lahoud had many questions to answer.

    "I think that he [Lahoud] is protecting people, the very people who committed this crime, who financed the crime, who for at least one year planned this crime," he said.

    Al-Hariri also said hurdles were being placed in the path of the UN investigation into the killing of his father along with 22 others in a bombing in Beirut in February 2005, and blamed foreign powers for stirring up political unrest in Lebanon.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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