Hezbollah Chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah
Photo: AFP

Lebanon: Cabinet lets Hezbollah keep weapons

Beirut's government backs bill allowing Shiite group to hold on to its arms. Bill contradicts UN resolutions 1559, 1701 which call for group's disarmament

The Lebanese government decided Wednesday to back a bill allowing Hezbollah to keep its weapons. The bill contradicts UN resolutions 1559 and 1701, which call for the Shiite group's disarmament.


"We have just adopted the policy statement of the cabinet," said Information Minister Tareq Mitri after an endorsement session chaired by President Michel Suleiman.


"There is paragraph six of the draft that was approved. This paragraph reiterates... with respect to the right of Lebanon, its people, its army and its resistance to liberate the occupied Lebanese territory in Shebaa and Kfar Shouba hills," he said.


According to Mitri, only one minister of the 30-member cabinet objected to article six, while four others expressed their reservations.


"This objection is natural and legitimate. But it does not mean there is an opposition bloc inside the cabinet. We are one united government," he told reporters.


The decision marks an internal political achievement for Hezbollah. In a speech given Tuesday, Hezbollah Chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said that "the resistance must be part of our defensive strategy."


Nasrallah refrained from challenging the fragile political state Lebanon is in, but called on the government to "annul political clannishness, which is the reason Lebanon's political arena cannot develop and why democracy is hindered."


Reuters contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 12.02.09, 18:58
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