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Beirut reviews status of Hezbollah's arms

Aug. 1, 2013 at 11:30 AM   |   Comments

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said Thursday the issue of Hezbollah's weapons should be reviewed in light of regional instability.

The European Union in July listed Hezbollah's armed wing as a terrorist organization. The Shiite movement has a legislative office in Beirut through its political arm.

A 2006 U.N. resolution calls on Hezbollah to lay down its weapons and join the political process. Pro-Hezbollah officials in Lebanon said its weapons are needed to protect against Israeli aggression.

Suleiman said Thursday the status of Hezbollah should be weighed against national security interests. Civil war in neighboring Syria has threatened Lebanon's stability. Hezbollah fighters have crossed the border to fight alongside pro-government forces in the war.

"It is time that the government holds the basic powers and be the one to determine the use of force," he was quoted by The (Beirut) Daily Star as saying. "The military task becomes difficult if one or more [political] party becomes involved in conflicts outside Lebanon."

Hezbollah's supporters said the terrorist designation complicates efforts to form a new government. Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigned this year amid internal political fighting.

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