BEIRUT — Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah stated Friday that "everyone is waiting for September" for progress on the presidential dossier, as Lebanon has been without a head of state for nine months. He said he believes that a resolution of this political deadlock can be found if "serious dialogue" is initiated on the subject.
These remarks echo the proposal put forward by Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French President's envoy to Lebanon, who suggested a meeting between different political forces during his visit to Lebanon this week.
During two speeches on Friday and Saturday, during the Shiite Muslim commemoration of Ashura, the Hezbollah leader also called for actors to "not obstruct the Lebanese Parliament" in order to enable legislation, a position that aligns with the party's ally the Amal Movement, headed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
‘Creating a horizon’
"It is clear that everyone is waiting for the month of September for the return of the French emissary," Nasrallah said. "Opening the door to serious dialogue can create a horizon in the presidential deadlock."
He added, "This is what we are striving to do, and we hope it will succeed."
As Lebanon has been without a president for nearly nine months, Hezbollah and Amal staunchly support Marada Party leader Sleiman Frangieh for this position, a stance they maintain despite the deadlock.
"We have not changed our position and we will not change," affirmed Mohammad Raad, Hezbollah's parliamentary group leader, Friday morning.
Parliament and Government
Nasrallah also emphasized that "the caretaker government must continue to attend to its responsibilities, especially as concerns the daily difficulties of the people." Prime Minister Najib Mikati's cabinet officially resigned in May, 2022.
"The Parliament must not be blocked," Hassan Nasrallah stated. "It must be able to adopt the necessary laws."
These remarks come as a cabinet failed to make quorum for a session meant to appoint a successor to Riad Salameh, the governor of the Banque du Liban (BDL), who is under investigation for corruption and whose term expires at the end of July. Hezbollah deems the appointment of Salameh's successor unconstitutional in the absence of a President of the Republic.
Nasrallah opened the way for Salameh's post to be taken by Wassim Mansouri — the first deputy governor of BDL who is a Shiite — but Berri opposed this solution. Mikati met with BDL's four deputy governors Thursday and told L'Orient-Le Jour that they had "agreed to remain in their positions and carry out their responsibilities," after they had threatened to resign.
Mansouri is expected to hold a press conference Monday, the day Salameh's term ends.
'Pay attention to your choices!'
Nasrallah also addressed the recent tensions at the southern border with Israel. "Lebanon is the aggressed party. Israel continues to occupy part of our territory, has re-annexed part of Ghajar, and expresses itself with insolence and provocations," said the Secretary General of Hezbollah.
In early July, Israel occupied the Lebanese area Ghajar, the contested Alawite village on the border between Lebanon and
Syria's annexed Golan Heights, and crossed by the Blue Line. Ghajar was completely cut off from Lebanon after the Israeli army built a fence to the north of the town.
"I say to the Zionists: Be careful with your choices! And with any foolishness! The Resistance will not shy away from any of its responsibilities," Hassan Nasrallah continued, asserting that the Resistance is "ready" and "will not remain silent in the face of any stupidity" committed by Israel.
Quran, values, and 'deviant culture'
Nasrallah also commented on the desecration of the Quran in Sweden and Denmark.
"The Swedish, Danish, and governments worldwide must understand that attacks on and violations of our sacred symbols and values are intolerable," he stated. An Iraqi refugee in Sweden burned a few pages of a Quran in front of the largest mosque in Stockholm on June 28, sparking outrage across the Muslim world.
In a televised speech for the annual Ashura commemoration Nasrallah — who recently launched attacks against the LGBTQ+ community — also expressed his belief that, in Lebanon, "the danger [of LGBTQ+ culture] began with associations and the publication of books for children that spread deviant culture." He called on the Ministry of Education to "ban" this culture and "protect the children of the next generation."
The week previous, Nasrallah stated that "when adultery is committed, the person is whipped. But when it comes to homosexuals, they must be killed."
"They must be fought everywhere, without limitations," he added, "and one should not use the term 'homosexuals.' Instead terms like 'liwate' or 'mousahaqa' [derogatory terms in Arabic, equivalent to 'pedophiles'] should be used to refer to them."