BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:00 P.M.) – The Lebanese Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri told Sputnik News Agency on Wednesday that if Hezbollah had not entered the war in Syria, the Islamic State (ISIS) would have spread all over Lebanon.
“As for Hezbollah, it is in its own country because if it had not been for Hezbollah there [in Syria], Daesh would have been here [in Lebanon],” Berri said.
The veteran politician then stated that Syrians are not outsiders in Lebanon and that everything that happens in Syria greatly affects Lebanon.
“We do not consider them outsiders… Everything that happens in Syria affects Lebanon,” Berri stressed.
Berri specifically told Sputnik that Hezbollah will not leave Syria until all terrorists are eliminated and the country’s territorial integrity has been restored.
The parliament speaker noted that the Iranian troops were present in Syria at the request of the Syrian leadership, just like the Russian Aerospace Forces, while the United States, which demanded the withdrawal of Hezbollah and Iran, deployed their troops in the country without the permission of the Syrian government.
“[These forces will not be withdrawn] until Syria is liberated and regains its territorial integrity,” Berri said.
The Syrian crisis cannot be settled without negotiations between Russia, the United States, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and one of EU states, Berri said.
“I believe that without negotiations between Russia, the United States, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and at least one European country, whether it is France or any other [country], it is impossible to resolve the Syrian crisis… Political solution cannot be reached without agreement between these parties,” Berri said.
France has not requested Lebanon to mediate in organizing talks between the regional countries on Syria, Berri said.
“Lebanon does not play any role in this topic. It, of course, can benefit from the settlement in Syria, but it cannot impose this decision,” Berri said, when asked whether France had requested Lebanon’s help in organizing regional talks on Syria.
France and the United States have not asked Lebanon to assist in establishing contact with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Lebanese parliament speaker added.
“No. What happened is an exceptional event in history. I do not think that there was something like this, at such a level in history,” Berri said, when asked whether Washington had asked for Beirut’s assistance in contacts with Tehran.
In late May, French President Emmanuel Macron said that dialogue with Damascus, as well as with opposition and all the regional powers, which were interested in stability, was necessary to achieve political settlement in Syria.