Lebanon's government has endorsed Hezbollah's right to keep its weapons for defense against Israel.
The decision is written into a policy statement released Wednesday by
the new government of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri. Parliament is
expected to hold a vote of confidence on the statement next week.
Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, recently reaffirmed the group's
intention to continue building its weapons arsenal to defend Lebanon
Hezbollah fought a month-long war with Israel in 2006. The fighting ended with a United Nations-brokered cease-fire.
The Shi'ite group is supported by Iran and Syria, and is considered a
terrorist organization by the United States and several other
Its members have been assigned to key posts in the new Lebanese Cabinet, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On Wednesday, five Cabinet ministers from Lebanon's pro-Western
majority "expressed reservations" about the clause addressing
In another development, a White House statement says U.S. President
Barack Obama will host Lebanese President Michel Suleiman on December
It says the two leaders will discuss a broad range of issues, including
efforts to strengthen bilateral ties, achieve regional peace, and
implement relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.
A Security Council resolution established the cease-fire between Israel
and Hezbollah in 2006, and demanded the militant group disarm
The United States has said Iran violated the embargo last month by trying to ship weapons to Hezbollah.
Israeli officials say they intercepted a ship in the Mediterranean as
it was carrying a concealed cargo of Iranian weapons to Syria for
delivery to Hezbollah.
Lebanon was among five countries elected to the U.N. Security Council in October for a two year term.