Resistance strong, Beirut leaders say

April 12, 2010 at 1:33 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, April 12 (UPI) -- An alliance between the Shiite Amal Movement and Hezbollah was intended to emphasize liberation, the Lebanese speaker of Parliament said.

Nabih Berri, the Parliament speaker, whose Amal Movement joined forces with Hezbollah ahead of May 2 municipal elections, said the alliance was intent on safeguarding "development and liberation," Hezbollah's al-Manar news station reports.

He added during his weekend speech that discussing Hezbollah's weapons was a separate issue from national defense.

Hezbollah, now a Cabinet member, was assured in 2009 that it could keep its weapons to deter a threat from Israel. Critics, however, said Israel wouldn't take military action against Lebanon if Hezbollah disarmed.

Berri's comments came as Gabi Ashkenazi, the chief of staff of the Israeli military, said his country's security would "never again be dependent on the benevolence of others."

Hezbollah and Israel went to war briefly in 2006. A U.N.-brokered cease-fire urges Israel to show restraint while calling on Hezbollah to disarm.

Security along the border between Israel and Lebanon remains tense as Hezbollah and Israel exchange messages of defiance.

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