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Report: ‘Hezbollah’ Pushed for Postponement of Lebanon Arsal ‘Victory Festival’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri held talks on Tuesday with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev at the Gorki-9 residence outside Moscow. (Dalati & Nohra)

Beirut – The Lebanese Tourism and Defense Ministries announced on Tuesday the postponement of the “Victory Festival,” which was scheduled for Thursday to celebrate the Lebanese army triumph against ISIS in the northeastern border region of Arsal.

The development came in spite of calls, mainly by Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, on Tuesday for a huge turnout at the celebration.

“Following consultations with the leaders and for purely logistic reasons, the Victory Festival celebration- which was scheduled for Thursday September 14 at the Martyrs Square in downtown Beirut – has been postponed,” the two ministries said in a statement on Tuesday.

However, reports said that “Hezbollah” had pushed in the direction of canceling the festival.

A website opposed to the party wrote: “‘Hezbollah’ was upset with the idea of holding a similar festival to prevent bolstering the role of the army.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Saad Hariri was in Moscow on Tuesday where he requested military cooperation from Russia.

During talks held on Tuesday with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, Hariri said: “We are in the process of rearming the Lebanese army and we want military cooperation between Lebanon and Russia.”

“But what is important for us is to preserve Lebanon’s neutrality regarding all the problems around it because we are living in a very turbulent region.”

The Lebanese prime minister said his country was until now able to protect its stability and stay away from any problems that may come from Syria or any country in the region, particularly Israel.

For his part, Medvedev said: “I want to congratulate you on your success in eliminating the extremist groups inside your borders and this is very important.”

The Russian minister said Moscow was ready to continue enhancing cooperation in fighting terrorism and in other sensitive fields.

Hariri also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and informed him that his visit to Moscow aims to develop the economic and military relations between the two countries and to discuss the purchase of some weapons from Russia to strengthen the Lebanese army.

This is the first time that Lebanese officials discuss in Russia the issue of purchasing weapons for the army.