On Monday, the 15-member Security Council demanded that the Lebanese government should disarm Hizb Allah’s guerrillas in line with a resolution the council adopted 16 months ago.
Mohammed Fneish, the energy and water minister, said on Tuesday: “This is a continuation of the American pressure to achieve the goal of enabling Israel to continue to occupy [Lebanese and Arab] territories and to expose Lebanon to Israeli schemes.
“It is an insult to all Lebanese that the resistance is called a militia. If we tell them this is a resistance and not a militia, it’ll prevent such interference in our affairs.”
Fneish’s call is central to a government crisis that saw him and four other Shia Muslim ministers boycott cabinet sessions in December.
“It is an insult to all Lebanese that the resistance is called a militia. If we tell them this is a resistance and not a militia, it’ll prevent such interference in our affairs”
They linked their return to a demand that Hizb Allah’s armed wing should be considered legitimate and not a militia that must disarm.
The ministers, all pro-Syrian, suspended attending cabinet sessions over a cabinet vote calling on the UN inquiry into last year’s assassination of Rafik al-Hariri the former Lebanese prime minister, to include other political killings.
Hizb Allah was instrumental in ending Israel‘s 22-year occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000. But calls for its disarmament have grown louder since its Syrian allies withdrew from Lebanon in April, amid an international outcry over al-Hariri’s murder.
The UN want Emile Lahoud to be
Fneish also condemned the UN council’s call on Lebanon to conduct fair and free presidential elections to replace Emile Lahoud, the pro-Syrian Lebanese president, who secured a three-year extension of his mandate in 2004 under pressure from Damascus.
Fneish said: “This is an attempt to shake our stability. The Security Council has no business interfering in a domestic constitutional matter.”
There was no comment from Lahoud’s office.
Many in Lebanon believe that Syria‘s pressure to renew the president’s term sparked a direct collision with al-Hariri that led to his death.
Damascus has denied any role but the UN inquiry has already implicated senior Syrian officials.