Sunday, 30 December 2012

Egypt to tighten relations with Hezbollah

Egypt will pursue a relationship with Hezbollah, Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Ashraf Hamdy told The Daily Star, but warned the group to work solely for the interests of Lebanon.

“You cannot discuss politics in Lebanon without having a relationship with Hezbollah," he explained. "It is a real force on the ground. It has a big political and military influence in Lebanon.” Hezbollah did not respond to the statements.

Hamdy denied reports that a Hezbollah delegation visited Egypt but said he had met with members of Hezbollah's political bureau in an attempt “to understand each other better.”

Alongside his praise for the terrorist group, he also expressed hinted criticism. “In discussions we said we want Hezbollah to remain as a political force in Lebanon acting in the interests of the Lebanese first and not others,” Hamdy said. He was referring to Hezbollah's close ties with the Assad regime in Syria and Iran's leadership.

The ambassador also issued a warning to Hezbollah. “Mixing those legitimate goals with other goals to dominate the Lebanese (political) scene and as the only force deciding Lebanese policy would not be welcome by other parties in the region, or by Egypt,” he said.

He nevertheless praised the group for its struggle against Israel. “Resistance in the sense of defending Lebanese territory…That’s their primary role. We… think that as a resistance movement they have done a good job to keep on defending Lebanese territory and trying to regain land occupied by Israel is legal and legitimate.”,7340,L-4326430,00.html

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