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Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah - Israel hampering talks Photo: Al Jazeera
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah - Israel hampering talks Photo: Al Jazeera
 
 

Nasrallah: We have remains of soldiers killed in Second Lebanon War

Hizbullah leader accuses Israel for sluggish pace of negotiations over fate of kidnapped soldiers, says his organization holds remains of Israelis killed on Lebanese soil during war. Secretary-general also asserts that Israel is responsible for political assassinations in Lebanon

Roee Nahmais
Latest Update: 01.03.08, 00:55 / Israel News

Hizbullah is in possession of "human remains the Israeli army left behind on Lebanese soil," Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah claimed in an interview broadcast on Lebanese television Wednesday. "We offered to return these remains within the framework of the negotiation efforts, but the Israeli side did seem to take an interest in the offer," he said.

 

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"After the last deal we were optimistic and things seemed to be progressing positively, but we were surprised by Israel's lackadaisical attitude towards the negotiations… There was a point where we felt that the Israelis were serious, but now this is not our impression. It does not seem like they are interested in information regarding the two soldiers or other matters."

 

Nasrallah also charged that Israel was responsible for the recent series of political assassinations in the country.

 

"No one has a greater motive for these assassinations than Israel," said the secretary-general, "their ambition is to drag Hizbullah into an internal war in Lebanon. There are those inside Lebanon who blame Hizbullah for the murders and this serves Israel's agenda. Israel is trying to drive a wedge between Syria and Lebanon and these killings weaken Syria and its allies in Lebanon."

 

The secretary-general also attacked the United States, saying it was hurting Lebanon. "Thus, our struggle is with the Bush government and the plan it is seeking to realize in Lebanon."

 

'Lebanon should give opposition veto power'

"The Resistance will merge with the strategic framework for national defense," said Nasrallah of his organization's future in Lebanon and further vowed that the Palestinians refugees "won't sit in Lebanon."

 

During the interview, Nasrallah addressed the ongoing leadership crisis in Beirut, saying that the solution "lies in a partnership through a constitutional guarantee (and) through a veto power for the opposition, which represents more than half of the Lebanese people.

 

"This will enable us to be partners in all aspects of running the country."

 

Nasrallah said his party supported Army Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman for president to replace pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud whose term ended on Nov. 23 without a successor being chosen.

 

But Suleiman's election, he said, ''will not solve the problem without a national unity government in which the opposition gets a veto power.''

 

Sometimes we don't see eye-to-eye with al-Qaeda

Nasrallah acknowledged that al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has accused him of allowing UN peacekeepers into Lebanon. "We are not in any competition with al-Qaeda. True, there are two points of view here – they have their way and we have ours. We dealt Israel a first defeat in 2000 and a second in 2006. We have our interests and our country. They can go ahead and disagree with us."

  

The firebrand leader denied recent reports that Iran's spiritual leader, Ali Khamenei, had appointed

Nasrallah's deputy, Naim Qassem, to replace him as the senior military commander of the organization following the latter's disappointment with his performance during the war.

 

"It is untrue that the Israelis destroyed out capability of firing long-range rockets. We are read to defend our country. We do not want war, but we are ready for it. If they want war – there will be war," said Nasrallah.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

 

First Published: 01.02.08, 22:57

 

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