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Nasrallah: “I Didn’t Mean To Start A War”

From the DNC's Aljazeera:

Nasrallah says he did not want war

Sunday 27 August 2006, 21:10 Makka Time, 18:10 GMT

The leader of Hezbollah has said that he would not have ordered the capture of two Israeli soldiers had he known that it would trigger such a war.

Hezbollah fighters killed three Israeli soldiers and seized two more in a cross-border raid on July 12, provoking a fierce Israeli response resulting in 34 days of fierce fighting in Lebanon.

"We did not think, even one per cent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 … that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not," Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview with Lebanon's New TV station.

Prisoner swap

Nasrallah also said "contacts" for negotiations on a prisoner swap between Israel and Hezbollah had already begun.

"The Israelis have acknowledged that this [issue] is headed for negotiations and a [prisoners] exchange," he said. "Contacts recently began for negotiations."

He said that that Italy and the United Nations had expressed interest in helping to mediate.

He did not specify in which capacity Italy had expressed interest – on its own or as a mediator for Israel.

Nasrallah said Nabih Berri, the Lebanese parliament speaker, was in charge of the negotiations.

UN deployment

The Hezbollah leader also said that UN troops preparing to deploy in southern Lebanon would not encounter any problems as long as their mission did not involve disarming his fighters.

"We have no problem with Unifil [UN Interim Force in Lebanon] as long as its mission is not aimed at disarming Hezbollah," Nasrallah said in the interview.

His comments came on the eve of a visit to Beirut by Kofi Annan, who was to discuss with Lebanese leaders the deployment of around 15,000 UN troops in southern Lebanon and related security matters.

Nasrallah said he would welcome a meeting with the UN secretary-general and that contacts had been made towards that end, but he said that nothing had been finalised for security reasons.

You'd think this might indicate that Nasrallah has learned an important lesson. But of course he hasn't. And probably never will.

Though, if Israel does end up swapping prisoners for prisoners, you have to wonder if they have learned anything either.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, August 27th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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