Lebanon president: Hezbollah no terrorist

July 25, 2005 at 11:22 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, July 25 (UPI) -- Lebanese President Emile Lahoud rejected attempts to brand Hezbollah's armed resistance against Israeli occupation in south Lebanon as terrorism.

"The resistance played an important role in liberating the greatest part of south Lebanon from occupation and we cannot consider it as a terrorist movement," Lahoud told a team of visiting U.S. congressmen Monday.

He said dialogue between Lebanese factions is the best guarantee for finding settlements to pending issues, notably the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 which calls for disarming Hezbollah and armed Palestinian groups.

"We need to find a settlement that would safeguard Lebanon's security and stability and any possible negative repercussions on its national unity," Lahoud said.

Hezbollah, which is represented in the government for the first time, refuses to give up its arms.

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