Livni: We must disarm Hizbullah now

On tour of North with Italian counterpart, FM says Hizbullah doesn't represent Lebanese interests.

livni italian fm 224 88 (photo credit: AP)
livni italian fm 224 88
(photo credit: AP)
Now is the time to disarm Hizbullah, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday on a tour of the North with her Italian counterpart, Franco Frattini. Their tour included an observation point overlooking Lebanon in the Har Dov region and a visit to the border-town of Misgav Am. "Hizbullah must be disarmed," she said. "We now have an opportunity to disarm Hizbullah, and we must not lose it...if we do not do it now, it will be much more difficult later on." The foreign minister went on to say that a situation which "allows a terror organization to be a member of a government that is perceived as legitimate is intolerable. While claiming to be a government coalition member, Hizbullah had to explain to the Lebanese residents of these villages why they had to pay the price they did, and in the weeks to come - when I hope we will complete the prisoner exchange - they will have to explain it to them again." "Hizbullah does not represent the interests of the people of Lebanon," she emphasized. Livni explained that she had brought the Italian foreign minister on a tour of the northern border to show him the situation in southern Lebanon. This month will mark two years since the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War and UNIFIL forces in Lebanon are currently under Italy's jurisdiction. "Italy has an important role as a leading force in the Multinational Force," she explained. "I have made it clear that the arming of Hizbullah from the Syrian border with Lebanon must stop. UNIFIL is deployed in southern Lebanon. The situation there has changed, but it is the duty of the international community to insist on full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701." In response, Frattini said he hoped that with the establishment of a new government in Lebanon, "we will be able to speak with it." "The implementation of resolution 1701 is the only solution and the best option to resolve the situation in the region," he added.