x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Hizbollah vows to 'never recognise Israel'

The leader of Hizbollah rejects US calls to recognise Israel as a precondition for dialogue.

Lebanese Hezbollah supporters listen to Hassan Nasrallah who speaks via a video link from a secret location through a giant screen, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, on March 13 2009.
Lebanese Hezbollah supporters listen to Hassan Nasrallah who speaks via a video link from a secret location through a giant screen, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, on March 13 2009.

Hizbollah's chief Hassan Nasrallah said yesterday that his movement would never recognise Israel, rejecting a US precondition for dialogue with the group. "To those who impose conditions on us, we say: We will never recognise Israel," he said in a speech marking the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed. The White House said on Tuesday that both Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and Lebanese militant group Hizbollah must renounce violence and recognise Israel before they can expect even low-level US engagement.

"We reject the American conditions ...today, tomorrow and after 1,000 years and even until the end of time, as long as Hizbollah exists, it will never recognise Israel," Mr Nasrallah said. A senior US official said on Thursday he was unhappy with a British decision to open low-level contact with Hizbollah and suggested London only indirectly informed the new US administration ahead of time. Mr Nasrallah also saluted recent moves to smooth over Arab differences, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt seeking to improve ties with Syria, which has supported Hizbollah.

"All Arab reconciliation reinforces us," he said. He called for Riyadh and Cairo to "extend a hand" to Iran, Hezbollah's main backer. A Hizbollah-led alliance has veto power over major decisions in the current unity government formed in July following a political crisis that brought Lebanon to the brink of civil war. Legislative elections are set for June 7 in Lebanon. *AFP