Lebanon: Hizbullah rejects calls to disarm as France urges Israel to lift blockade
Hizbullah on Wednesday said it would not leave the area south of the Litani river and stressed that the issue of its arms is not negotiable, Al Jazeera reported. Hassan Fadlallah a deputy representing Hizbullah, conveyed in an interview with al-Jazeera that Hizbullah's top priority is to rebuild Lebanon and help those who have been displaced from their homes.
The fate of Hizbullah's weapons is expected to be at the focus of a government meeting later today.
Meanwhile, the French foreign minister on Wednesday called for Israel to lift its air, naval and land blockade of Lebanon, saying it was unnecessary with the U.N.-imposed cease-fire holding. Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy was in Beirut with his Turkish counterpart to discuss the deployment of a 15,000-strong international force to south Lebanon.
According to the AP, Douste-Blazy said France would commit troops to the United Nations peacekeeping force. "The blockade imposed on the airport and Lebanese ports should be lifted. We ask Israeli authorities to lift the land and sea siege on Lebanon. And we ask the Lebanese government to strengthen monitoring" of points of entry to insure Hezbollah weapons are banned, Douste-Blazy said.
"There is no longer a reason for Israel to continue the blockade," he added.