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Lebanese government won't ask Hezbollah to disarm

May 8, 2010

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BEIRUT—Lebanon's president says the government cannot ask Hezbollah to give up its weapons at a time of heightened tension with Israel.

A U.N. deal to end the 2006 war between Israel and the Shiite militants required Hezbollah to disarm, but Lebanon's politicians have been unable to agree on a national defense strategy that would integrate the group's weapons into the regular armed forces.

President Michel Suleiman said Saturday that Lebanon "cannot and must not" tell Hezbollah to disarm before reaching a deal on a defense strategy that would also address any future Israeli attacks.

A recent Israeli claim that Hezbollah's arsenal includes Scud missiles transferred from Syria has provoked another exchange of warnings between Israel and Lebanon.