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Lebanese President Denies Syria Smuggled Chemical Arms to Hezbollah

sleimanLebanese President Michel Sleiman stated that Hezbollah does not accept the use of chemical weapons, denying that Syrian chemicals have been smuggled to Lebanon, reported the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat on Saturday.

“Syria’s chemical weapons have not been smuggled to Lebanon and there is no evidence of their presence in the country,” he told al-Hayat.

He revealed that his discussions with his Iranian counterpart stressed the need to respect the Baabda Declaration and adopt Lebanon’s policy of disassociation from regional developments, emphasizing that Lebanon’s stability be preserved.

Fielding a question about the relation between the Presidency and Hezbollah, Sleiman stated: “Our ties are not strained as I held talks recently with the head of the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Mohammad Raad during which he expressed Hezbollah’s understanding of my views.”

“It is in the interest of all sides to implement the Baabda Declaration and I think it will be implemented sooner or later,” he continued.

Also on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly, Sleiman met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, revealing that he sensed an easing in tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which he hoped will reflect positively on the region, and most importantly, Lebanon.

Commenting on his upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, Sleiman said: “I will discuss with kingdom officials the developments in the region and their impact on Lebanon.”

On his ties with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Sleiman explained: “The ties have not been cut, but we deal with Syria on the basis of the Taef Accord.”

“My ties with the Syrian president are built on other foundations that are linked to the interests of Lebanon and Syria and their people,” he continued.

Earlier on Friday, Sleiman told the BBC Arabic-language service that all Lebanese sides began the process of retreating from battles in the neighboring country Syria.
He called on all sides to allow the security forces to carry out their tasks and prevent any military infiltration into the country and vice-versa.

“It’s in the best interest of all sides to end their involvement in the ongoing conflict in Syria,” the president said.

Around 1,000 army troops and security forces deployed Monday in Dahiyeh following two violent explosions which left 27 people killed and dozens others injured.

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