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Sleiman: Hezbollah should keep arms

Lebanese President Michel Sleiman says the Hezbollah movement cannot be disarmed as Tel Aviv continues to adopt a warmongering tone towards Lebanon.

The Lebanese daily ad-Diyar on Saturday quoted Sleiman as saying that, “We cannot and must not tell the resistance … ‘Give us your weapons and put it under the state’s command’ “, citing the current “regional atmosphere full of dangers and the drumbeats of war that Israel is banging everyday,” Reuters reported.

Hezbollah countered Israel’s offensive in 2000 and fought a war against them in 2006. About 1,200 Lebanese, most of them civilians, were killed in the 33-Day War of 2006.

Beirut says the Lebanese resistance movement’s armed capability is part of the national defense power.

The movement, also involved in the Lebanese politics, has been included in national dialog which is aimed at coming up with a national defense strategy. Sleiman said late last month that the unified strategy “means unification of national capabilities in order to implement its policy to defend the nation.”

Israel has recently escalated its military presence near the Lebanese border and claimed that Syria is supplying Hezbollah with Russian-made Scud missiles.

Lebanese, Syrian and Hezbollah leaders have rejected the claim as a move to wage war in the region.

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