Interview conducted by Ali Oubani
Change and Reform bloc member Nabil Nkoula replied to statements made by Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman as the latter said that ties with Lebanon will be affected if Beirut fails to pay its share of funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).
"If Lebanon is unable to produce its share of the funding for the Special Tribunal, we're going to have to take some pretty tough decisions, and I think you're going to see some consequences in terms of the US-Lebanese bilateral relationship," the US official Feltman had said in an interview with al-Arabiyah tv channel.
MP Nkoula described Feltman's statement as flames of incitement and interference in Lebanese domestic affairs. He pointed out that such an attitude is "unacceptable", concluding that the STL was put to serve the US in first place.
Nkoula wondered what urges Feltman to comment on such a "Lebanese" topic and wondered what is the US relation to this tribunal, questioning why would the US security be affected if the tribunal did not receive the required funds!
The MP also noted that Feltman's statements pour into targeting Lebanon's stability. He highlighted "the US Assistant Feltman realizes very well that the Lebanese have disagreements on the funding of the tribunal, but we as Lebanese are entitled to solve the matter alone, without any US interference.
Moreover, Nkoula criticized the international tribunal asking "where is its role in defending the rights of the oppressed Palestinians?" he further explained that 63 years have passed since the people of Palestine were displaced and expelled from their homes and villages, and have been suffering poverty and harsh living conditions. He noted that such a human cause should be the concern of an international tribunal rather than the STL which is only related to the Lebanese internal and does not affect any other state.
On whether there is a chance to fund the STL, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) deputy said that such a step is not even to be considered, adding that 30 to 40 million dollars was the tax Lebanon had to pay for a tribunal that led to nothing so far.
Moving on to the possibility of resuming dialogue, Nkoula assured that the Free Patriotic Movement backs national dialogue but only on the basis of a defense strategy, reiterating that the resistance arms is a means of defense in face of the "Israeli' enemy.
On the Syrian arena, Nkoula said that as time passes, we realize that the issue in Syira is not that of change and reform, it is rather that the West aims at targeting the resistance and rejection powers in the region and in Syria particularly. The MP underscored that the conflict is Syiran-American, slamming the United States for its blatant interference. He addressed the US ordering it to back up and remove its hand off the region.
Source: al-Intiqad, translated and edited by moqawama.org