Hizbollah: Lebanon Pressured by UN, US to Certify Israeli Withdrawal
The head of the Hizbollah group said Saturday that Lebanon had been subjected to "enormous pressures" by the US and the UN to certify that the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon was complete.
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said the United States and the UN Security Council "threatened Lebanon with embargo, they threatened to cut off aid ... but it was Lebanon in the end which decided" when peacekeepers of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) would be deployed along the Lebanese-Israeli border.
Nasrallah also said Lebanon had refused to play the role of border guard for Israel," which was his reason to explain Lebanon's refusal up until now to deploy its own forces on the border following Israel's May 24th withdrawal from south Lebanon.
After several weeks of objecting to existing and new Israeli encroachments on Lebanese territory, the Lebanese government Friday gave UNIFIL the go-ahead to deploy all along the border.
On Saturday, as that deployment was completed, Lebanese Interior Minister Michel Murr said a mixed army-police force would be ready by the following night to move in to the formerly occupied zone as well.
In his speech, which came following the UNIFIL deployment, Sheikh Nasrallah also said that continued armed resistance against Israel remains a "sacred duty."
Hizbollah spearheaded the armed resistance to Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon.
"As long as one inch of (Lebanese) territory remains occupied, as long as there is a single Lebanese held in Zionist prisons and as long as Israel threatens our country, armed resistance remains a sacred duty," he said.
Although Lebanon has now accepted that Israel has withdrawn along the blue line drawn by the UN, it still has two outstanding border disputes with Israel. One is the Shabaa farms, on the foothills of Mount Hermon in eastern Lebanon, and the other is part of the village of Ghajar, in the same area.
Israel says it occupied these areas from Syria in the war of June 1967, in which Lebanon was not involved, and that their future will be decided in talks with Damascus -- MASHGHARA, Lebanon (AFP)
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