Bkirki: Lassa Dispute Not Political, But Rather on Property Rights
The dispute in the Jbeil District town of Lassa is not between political parties or movements, it is rather a property rights dispute and it will be tackled in a spirit of dialogue and coexistence, the media department of the Maronite Patriarchate said Thursday in a statement.
The statement was issued following a meeting in Bkirki on Wednesday for the follow-up committee that emerged from the recent broad Maronite meeting in Bkirki.
Wednesday's meeting was attended by a Hizbullah delegation headed by party official Ghaleb Abu Zainab.
The conferees reached an agreement under which the committee tasked with surveying lands would resume its work in two months and the two sides would halt provocative media statements.
The survey of lands in the Jbeil District town of Lassa will also resume in two months, MTV reported on Wednesday.
The Bkirki meeting comes after Hizbullah members last week prevented a Maronite League team from surveying land owned by the Maronite Patriarchate in the predominantly Shiite town of Lassa in the Jbeil District.
It also comes after members of the same party prevented an MTV crew from filming a report on the issue in the town.
Opposition sources have interpreted the recent attacks against the Maronite League team and MTV staff as the early signs of Hizbullah’s “dominance” over the new majority, reported the daily An Nahar Thursday.
“This gives the opposition complete credibility in waging its long battle with the government over Hizbullah’s possession of arms and its call that this issue be the only article on the national dialogue’s agenda,” they added.
The daily said that the talks focused on the disputed lands it Lassa, with an agreement being reached that a survey would be conducted over land that is not a subject of a dispute.
Another survey would be held over disputed territory and then a final survey over land that has been subject to construction violations, it revealed.
The gatherers also agreed to confront any violation on disputed land or property owned by the church.
Construction in the area can only take place through an official license, they stressed.
Meanwhile, Change and Reform bloc MP Simon Abi Ramia, who is a member of the follow-up committee, told Al-Jadeed television after the Bkirki meeting that “the issue of Lassa was blown out of proportion by the media.”
“The dispute erupted in the 1940s and the property is neither Maronite nor Shiite and there is a committee that will follow up on the issue transparently and clearly and we have set a timeframe for finalizing the issue of the land survey,” Abi Ramia added, stressing that “things are back to normal.”
The follow-up committee consists of representatives from all Maronite movements and parties. It comprises MPs Elie Kairouz, Simon Abi Ramia, Fouad al-Saad, Hadi Hbeish, Elie Aoun, Elie Marouni and Emile Rahme.
The committee is tasked with coordinating and preparing for upcoming Maronite meetings in Bkirki. The committee formed subcommittees tasked with tackling the issues of lands owned by Christians, administrative appointments and other topics.