Lebanon's PM supports Hezbollah resistance

April 8, 2013 at 11:37 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, April 8 (UPI) -- Hezbollah's weapons are a strong deterrent against Israel but its authority doesn't trump the central government, Lebanon's prime minister said.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman appointed veteran independent lawmaker Tamam Salam to serve as the new prime minister tasked with forming a new government. Najib Mikati, a Hezbollah ally, resigned recently following a series of internal political disputes.

Salam won support last week from the March 14 alliance, which has Western support, and the March 8 coalition, which counts Hezbollah lawmakers among its rank.

Salam told The Daily Star newspaper that Hezbollah should be considered an armed resistance movement that deters Israel. Any formal decision on actual military action is a national decision, however.

"The resistance is a national need in the face of all the threats we get from Israel," he said. "Even in the resistance field, the decision to make war or peace should be a national decision, not a factional decision."

Lebanon is on edge given its internal political crises and the threat from civil war in neighboring Syria. Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said Salam should work to appoint a government that wouldn't be swayed by the platforms of either March 8 or March 14.

Hezbollah is considered an enduring ally of the Syrian government despite the ongoing turmoil.

Salam said it's unlikely Lebanon will hold June parliamentary elections as planned.

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