The Lebanese government on Thursday rejected U.N. calls to disarm Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas in line with a Security Council resolution passed last year, insisting the matter was subject to national dialogue.
Lebanon's renewed opposition comes one day after the Security Council discussed a U.N. report that said Beirut has not done enough to disarm militias in the country including the Syrian and Iranian-backed Hezbollah.
Lebanon regards Hezbollah as a legitimate resistance group opposing Israeli occupation of Arab lands and not a militia. Disarming such groups should also be handled internally through dialogue among the country's various factions, Lebanon maintains.
"We repeat that the (Security Council) article pertaining to the resistance is dealt with within the framework of internal national dialogue," Information Minister Ghazi Aridi quoted President Emile Lahoud as saying.
"They (the Security Council) have a point of view and we have ours. They are sticking to theirs and we are sticking to ours," Aridi told reporters.
Prime Minister Fuad Saniora also told the Cabinet that Lebanon's position was based on internal dialogue and dialogue with the world "so that they understand what we are doing and in order to solve our matters in a calm manner."
The U.N. report, prepared by U.N. envoy Terje Roed-Larsen, also said that despite some positive steps, Lebanon still has not achieved full "sovereignty and political independence" more than six months after Syria withdrew its troops and intelligence apparatus from its neighbor following a 29-year presence, reports the AP.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18