Lebanese PM says Hezbollah can keep arms, as new government convenes

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday indicated that his new government would allow terror group Hezbollah to keep its weapons, which have been frequently used to threaten Israel.

Members of Lebanon’s Parliament began discussing the new government’s policy statement, which focuses on improving the country’s economic conditions.

The statement said that Lebanese citizens have the right to “resist Israeli occupation and repel its aggression,” in reference to the Iran-backed terror group’s right to keep its weapons.

Under UN Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, Lebanon committed to disarming the Iran-backed terror group.

Hariri began the meeting by reading the policy statement, which calls for reforms in state finances, the economy and the crumbling electricity sector, which costs state coffers about $2 billion a year.

The statement stressed “the need for Lebanon to distance itself from external conflicts and to respect the Charter of the Arab League, and the adoption of an independent foreign policy based on Lebanon’s supreme interest and respect for international law to preserve the country as a peace forum,” according to the Naharnet website.

The new cabinet was announced late last month, breaking a nine-month deadlock that had deepened Lebanon’s economic woes.

Rival political groups in Lebanon had been locked in disagreement over the makeup of a new government since May, after the country’s first parliamentary elections in nine years. A breakthrough became possible last month after weeks of backroom deals, as Lebanon’s economic woes mounted.