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Lebanese prime minister: Hezbollah can keep arms, resist Israel

While Saad Hariri also said Lebanon would still be neutral in regional conflicts, he said Lebanese citizens have the right to “resist Israeli occupation and repel its aggression."

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Credit: Kremlin.ru via Wikimedia Commons.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Credit: Kremlin.ru via Wikimedia Commons.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri pledged on Tuesday that the new government will protect the country’s sovereignty and that Lebanese citizens have the right to “resist Israeli occupation and repel its aggression,” in a reference to the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah.

“We will not spare any efforts in protecting our country against the enemy, who is looking to exploit our natural resources and wealth,” said Hariri during a parliamentary session.

As part of the terms under UN resolution 1701, that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, the Lebanese government must disarm Hezbollah.

Hariri also reiterated his pledge to institute change. “It is the responsibility of all parties to undertake the necessary reforms in a bid not to waste the opportunity that we have today,” he added.

Lebanon has one of the highest public debts in the world.

The prime minister also said his government would still be neutral in regional conflicts, while furthering ties with other countries and the European Union.

Earlier this month, Lebanon, after nine grueling months, formed a unity government that includes the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hezbollah, whose allies took over 18 ministries.

For Hezbollah itself, Mahmoud Qmati became State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, while Mohammad Fneish took over the Youth and Sports portfolio.

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