The head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, Mohammad Raad, sat down with RT Arabic and answered questions regarding the purpose of his visit to Moscow, this as Lebanon’s economic and political crisis continues to deepen.
Raad was heading a delegation of lawmakers from Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement that travelled to Moscow last month following an invitation from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Source: RT Arabic (YouTube)
Date: March 17, 2021
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Welcome to our show your excellency.
Mohammad Raad, the head of the Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc:
Starting with your visit to Moscow, it comes at an extremely sensitive time, whether inside Lebanon or on the regional level, Lebanon is on the brink of a major political, economic collapse. The visit also coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the Syrian crisis.
What is on your agenda in relation to the Russian side? How was the visit to Moscow?
The truth is that this visit is taking place at a crossroads in global and regional transformations, in which tensions are tightening between the various members of the opposition (i.e. anti-imperialist front) and international powers that want to exclusively take charge of world affairs, according to their interests and that of their allies, including the Zionist entity.
What is happening now in Lebanon is a method of pressure that seeks to twist the arm of the resistance by imposing sanctions, along with the imposition of a financial, banking, and economic embargo, this after the failure of other methods. It is also after this resistance, in cooperation with its friends, Russia being at the forefront, achieved a tremendous victory over terrorism in Syria, and prevented this terrorism from infiltrating into Lebanon to threaten its stability.
Now, considering the current transformations, it is imperative that the efforts of friends be integrated/harmonised, that we face the challenges and risks together, preserve the stability of our country, and achieve our common interests, in order to banish the spectre of appropriation and monopoly which the Zionist entity seeks, by relying on its international alliances.
When you say that the efforts of ‘friends’ must be integrated/harmonised, do you mean the ‘Russian friend’ and (certain) Lebanese powers?
Raad: Of course.
In what framework, your excellency, will the Russian role move in the Lebanese arena? At the level of the government for example, Lavrov met the Mr Hariri in Abu Dhabi, and today you are in Moscow. What are the latest updates in this file?
The latest update is that Russia is showing serious interest in speeding up the formation of the Lebanese government and facilitating this task for the prime minister-designate (Hariri) himself, such that (Hariri) does not take any step backwards. (Russia is) also urging the Lebanese parties to complete this task, as the key to the country’s stability at this stage is the presence of a government.
We frankly expressed our view: with a government that accommodates the widest possible participation, insisting on 18 (government ministers) makes no sense. (Rather), increasing the representation of (Lebanon’s) political forces and people would benefit the government and guarantee its longevity. (Especially) since the measures (this new government) will take may not be (viewed) as popular measures, even if they were (necessary) reforms. This (thus) requires all forces to be supportive of it. On that basis, we are facilitating the formation of the government, (and) our view overlaps with that of the Russian friends.
The Russian side wants to strengthen its role in the Lebanese arena by bringing points of views closer together, as it always does in other arenas without interfering in the internal affairs of countries.
Raad: Of course.
Your excellency, the Russian role, we want to talk about the Russian role specifically. Some say that this role is not being activated because – we do not say linkage or subordination – but due to the active presence of the Americans in the Lebanese arena in all files. There is even talk, or maybe information that may sometimes appear in the media, that Russia’s friends – since you use this term ‘friends’ – meaning Russia’s allies in Lebanon, are not exerting enough efforts to activate/facilitate this (Russian) role (that aims to) bring perspectives (among the Lebanese) closer to each other.
In fact, the crisis that Lebanon is suffering from required us to take a rational approach in dealing with matters. We believe in coexistence. Yet, coexistence in its true meaning requires us to expand (our relations/horizons) eastward and westward. As for limiting our expansion to the West without turning to the East, this does not express the unity of the Lebanese people, nor the cohabitational unity among the Lebanese. Nevertheless, we (have so far) overlooked many (negative) issues in order to maintain the stability and sovereignty of our country. We also hope and count on the role of (our) Russian friends in terms of our country’s economy.
Host: How is that? How can it be translated?
It can be translated through the opportunities they will contribute to in many fields, on the level of extraction of natural wealth (resources), participation in the reconstruction of Lebanon, on the level of transportation, railways and so on…
Host: Have you seen practical Russian steps within this economic file?
We have seen (Russian) seriousness in approaching these files, and in detail too, details that have been put forward and that need discussions with the (future Lebanese) government, the formation of which is eagerly awaited.
This means that the (ordinary) Lebanese (citizen ought to) wait for (a new) government and (a change) in the situation of the US dollar. The Lebanese Pound has collapsed completely, and some say that Lebanon has become a failed state, your excellency. It is said that Hezbollah is the one who dominates political decision-making, and it is to be held accountable for this failure…
First, regarding the situation of the US dollar and the rise of its value against the Lebanese Pound, basically the whole banking system in Lebanon is in the hands of the Americans, and they are responsible for this whole crisis. They are the ones who organise/scheme, they are the ones who impose sanctions…Today, they want the Lebanese people to be held responsible (instead). This is one of the indications of the failure of American policy in Lebanon, and (indicates) that if the (US) continues to hold the economic situation (in its grasp), it will negatively affect and put pressure on the Lebanese people and harm their livelihoods. Even so, (the US) will not be able to seize their dignity, nor their concern for their national sovereignty.
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