By Majdoline Hatoum Daily Star staff Friday, July 29, 2005
Lebanon's new government voiced its staunch support for Hizbullah and
its resistance during the first day of a Parliamentary session set to
give the new Cabinet an overwhelming vote of confidence. Addressing
Parliament, Premier Fouad Siniora said the government would defend
Lebanon's right to resistance, a term usually used to refer to
Hizbullah, whose efforts served to end Israel's 22 year occupation of
the Lebanese south in May 2000.
said: "The government considers the resistance a natural and honest
expression of the Lebanese people's national rights to liberate their
land and defend their honor against Israeli aggression and threats."
issue of disarming Hizbullah is one of the biggest challenges that
Lebanon will face in the coming months, as the international community
is pressuring Beirut to implement Resolution 1559, which calls for
disarming all armed factions on Lebanese land, including Hizbullah and
Palestinian militant factions in refugee camps.
But Siniora failed to mention the UN resolution, despite a recent visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that
many perceived as an attempt to push Lebanon into implementing the resolution.
Siniora settled for saying: "The government affirms its respect for
international law, good ties to international legitimacy and respect
for its resolutions within the framework of sovereignty, solidarity and
the session set to debate the Cabinet's policy statement, Siniora also
said Lebanon would work toward "solid and balanced" ties with Syria,
and promised to resolve a border crisis with Damascus that has slowed
Lebanese exports to Arab countries. He also affirmed the government's
determination to "free Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons."
after Siniora, Michel Aoun, a long-time opponent of Syria's influence
in Lebanon, criticized the government'' policy statement.
Parliament, Aoun, who will withhold his confidence from Siniora's
Cabinet, tackled the issue of armed resistance and asked the government
to name other Arab countries that are conducting armed resistance right
He said: "We don't have
any objection to the people's right to resist occupation. But we would
like the government to tell us which Arab countries are resisting
Israel as well. Syria has yet to fire one bullet in the occupied Golan
Heights. Jordan has already signed a peace treaty with Israel and so
Referring to the
occupied Shebaa Farms, Aoun also demanded that Lebanon's borders be
officially marked to set boundaries for the resistance's work.
said: "I demand the government specify which parts of our land are
under occupation, so we know what we have to free. At least, when that
happens, we will know when the resistance should turn over its weapons
to the Lebanese government."