Jumblat Says March 8 to Increase 'Valium' Intake over Feltman-Khamenei Meeting
Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat mocked March 8 majority leaders for needing anti-depressant pills after U.N. Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman met with Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“What was the impact of Sayyed Khamenei’s meeting of Feltman on some March 8 members?” Jumblat wondered in remarks published in An Nahar daily on Friday.
“Some of them are uncomfortable and will increase their consumption of Valium pills when they go to sleep,” the PSP chief mocked.
Feltman attended on Wednesday a meeting between U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and Khamenei on the sidelines of the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran.
The Hizbullah-led March 8 coalition is backed by Iran and has repeatedly accused Feltman, who was U.S. assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs before taking the U.N. job, of inciting the March 14 opposition against the Shiite party.
On Lebanon’s chairmanship of the Arab League Ministerial Council on Sept. 5, Jumblat warned that such a move would reflect negatively on the Lebanese government.
“The coming days will prove my words,” he told An Nahar.
Reports have said that top Lebanese officials were divided on whether Lebanon to assume that role.
As Safir daily quoted on Tuesday a cabinet minister loyal to Jumblat as saying that the PSP ministers and those loyal to President Michel Suleiman prefer to reject Lebanon’s mission in the Arab League and ask Libya to take over the chairmanship of the Ministerial Council.
The centrist parties believe that this role would further instigate tension in Lebanon which has been reeling from a political and security crisis, the newspaper said.
An Nahar also asked Jumblat about a rally that the PSP is organizing near Samir Kassir Square in downtown Beirut on Friday afternoon to demand Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdul Karim Ali’s expulsion.
But the Druze leader refused to comment, saying he gives the organizers the “freedom to decide” what statement to issue during the rally.
He also denied that the ministers loyal to him had ties to the call by the PSP youth movement for Ali’s expulsion.