Lebanonâ€™s Hezbollah has rejected calls for disarmament, saying the presence of the armed resistance movement is needed to protect the country against Israeli military threats.
Speaking on the 67th anniversary of the Lebanese Armyâ€™s foundation late on Wednesday, Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah denounced attempts made by the US and Israel to disarm the Resistance.
The campaign to disarm Hezbollah started after the Israeli army was forced to leave Lebanonâ€™s occupied south in 2000, Nasrallah stated.
He recalled the victory of Hezbollah against Israel in the July 2006 war, and noted that the Resistance has long protected the Lebanese people.
Nasrallah criticized the Western-backed March 14 alliance for pressuring Hezbollah to hand over its arms to the Lebanese Army.
â€œIf we handed over the weapons of the Resistance to the army, where would it deploy them?â€ he questioned.
He explained that army is an organized institution and thus unable to hide missiles and other weaponry in case of an Israeli attack. “Therefore, those who ask for the handover of Hezbollahâ€™s weapons to the army want the Resistance and the army to be destroyed.â€
Nasrallah also called for close cooperation between the Lebanese Army and the resistance movement, but not at a level that army gives orders to the Resistance.
The Lebanese leader said Hezbollah was the first party to provide its views on the national defense strategy, stressing that the country needs a strong army along with a strong resistance.
Nasrallah said Lebanon’s national dialogue is an US-Israeli plan to disarm the resistance movement, censuring the parties involved for failing to discuss the national security strategy proposed by Hezbollah.
â€œWe had high hopes we could achieve our goals through national dialogue,â€ he said, regretting that the negotiations â€œnever aimed to protect Lebanon.â€
The resistance leader, however, assured that the movement is not planning to boycott future talks among the Lebanese factions.
Nasrallah also called for a discussion of a liberation strategy to retake Kfar Shouba and the Shebaa farms, which remain under the Israeli occupation.
â€œWe call for putting the strategy of liberation on the national dialog tableâ€¦ We need both strategies of defense and liberation,â€ he stated.