Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
leader Hassan Nasrallah shot back at UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Saturday, saying that Hezbollah will not give up its weapons and that the top UN official's concern over its armament "pleases" him.Ban Ki-moon demanded on Friday the disarmament of the anti-Israel movement, which had said his visit to Lebanon was not welcome.
a visit to the Lebanese capital over the weekend, Ban said he was
"deeply concerned about the military capacity of Hezbollah and ... the
lack of progress in disarmament." Nasrallah responded a day later, "We
want you (the UN), the US and Israel to be concerned."
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concern is that our people are comforted that there is a resistance in
Lebanon and we will not allow a new occupation or another violation,”
Nasrallah said in a video message to a Shi'ite religious event.
Hezbollah leader added that he will not disarm or slow the group's
armament, saying that path is the "only guarantee" to safeguarding
Lebanon. "We confirm that our choice is the path of resistance and the
arms of the resistance," he added.
"The resistance," Nasrallah boasted, "is here to stay. Its power and its readiness will continue to grow."
"I am deeply concerned about the military capacity of Hezbollah and ...
the lack of progress in disarmament," he told a news conference after
meeting Lebanese leaders.
"That is why we discussed this matter very seriously and I strongly
encouraged President (Michel) Suleiman to initiate a convening of this
national dialogue to address these issues...All these arms outside of
the authorized state authority, it's not acceptable," Ban declared.
The UN secretary-general's trip to Lebanon made waves even before he
arrived, with one Hezbollah leader saying he was not welcome, a stance
criticized by Lebanese politicians opposed to the armed Shi'ite Islamist
movement and its Syrian and Iranian patrons.
Hezbollah accepted an expansion of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon
(UNIFIL) in the south after its devastating 2006 war with Israel, but
rejects a UN Security Council resolution that demands that it lay down
its military arsenal, as all other Lebanese armed groups did after the
1975-90 civil war.
Reuters contributed to this report.