President Lahoud has reportedly snuffed out any hope for the release of jailed Lebanese Forces commander Samir Geagea on parole over the next three remaining years of the general’s term in office.
The president also assured his visitors that Hizbullah was in no immediate danger from the U.S.-led global war on terrorism and stressed he would not curb the party’s guerrilla war to liberate the Shebaa farms from Israeli occupation. “The president has emphasized to his visitors that he would not sign any special pardon for any one during his constitutional term in office,” wrote An Nahar’s columnist Nicholas Nassif on Saturday.
The writer noted that the decision to release senior LF aides Salman Smaha and Ellie Keyrouz on bail Friday had created an impression that Geagea and his jailed political advisor Toufic Hindi would be possibly paroled by presidential decrees.
“Instead, the president has put a final end to these speculations for both men,” Nassif concluded.
As for Hizbullah, Lahoud was quoted as saying “the Party of God is in no danger from the current war on terrorism. It is a 100 percent Lebanese party and maintains a position in the local equation similar to any other political grouping.”
The president also asserted that Lebanon, within an understanding with Syria, would not extend any assurances that resistance attacks would be stopped before a comprehensive settlement with Israel.
“The attacks would not stop unless Israel withdraws from the Shebaa farms and the Golan Heights and before a decision to grant the Palestinians in diaspora the right to return to their home,” Lahoud said, according to Nassif’s narration.
“Until this settlement is reached, Lebanon remains in a state of war with Israel and the political decision of resistance will remain in force,” the president said. “The attacks, however, will be governed by the field situation. Attack is possible any time.”
The president contended that the United States was not pressuring Lebanon over Hizbullah’s status despite the party’s inclusion on the third U.S. list of terrorist organizations with global reach.
Lahoud noted that U.S. ambassador Vincent Battle, who conveyed the list to the Beirut authorities, made no immediate demand that Hizbullah’s bank assets be frozen