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Hariri at Southern Border: Not Concerned by ‘Hezbollah’ Parade | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, right, and Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Maj. Gen. Michael Beary, left, review the honor guard of the United Nations peacekeepers, upon his arrival at their headquarters, at the coastal border town of Naqoura, south Lebanon, Friday, April 21, 2017. (Dalati Nohra via AP)

Beirut – In a response to the field tour by “Hezbollah” for journalists along the Lebanese-Israeli border where party commanders revealed their faces for the first time, Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived at the city of Naqoura on Friday, accompanied by Defense Minister Yacoub Sarraf and Lebanese Army Commander General Joseph Aoun.

From their, Hariri announced that what “happened yesterday is something that we, as a government, are not concerned with and do not accept. So I came here to emphasize that our role as a government is to preserve resolution 1701.”

Hariri also confirmed that the Lebanese Armed Forces are the only legitimate force in charge of defending the country’s borders.

“I wanted to come here to confirm that this State and this government, together with the President, are responsible for maintaining and implementing resolution 1701,” Hariri said.

On Thursday, in a step seen by some observers as a challenge, “Hezbollah’s” media relations organized a field tour for journalists along the Lebanese border with Israel, to reveal the fortification and buttressing works carried out by the Israeli Army along the borderline with Lebanon.

Surprisingly, one of “Hezbollah’s” military leaders also participated in the tour and spoke to reporters on the Israeli objective of these new military constructions.

On Friday, Hariri also met at the headquarters of UNIFIL in Naqoura with UNIFIL head of mission and force commander Michael Beary and high-ranking officers of the force.

After the meeting, Hariri said: “I am visiting the South and the Blue Line today with the Minister of Defense and the Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces to thank our troops, and to tell the Lebanese Armed Forces, that they and only they are the legitimate force in charge of defending our borders.”

When asked about the recent American statements about “Hezbollah” and Iran and whether he fears a war in Lebanon or the region, the prime minister said: “As long as we implement the ministerial statement we committed to in this government, I do not fear a war.”