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Ban: Disarmament of Armed Groups Can Best Be Achieved through Political Process

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon remains convinced that the disarmament of armed groups in Lebanon, in particular Hizbullah, can best be achieved through a political process, a U.N. spokesman said.

"He calls on Lebanese leaders to reconvene the national dialogue under the auspices of President Michel Suleiman," the spokesman Farhan Haq said.

The U.N. chief also emphasized that the proliferation of weapons outside the State's control and the presence of heavily armed militias were a threat to the country's peace and prosperity.

In a report to the United Nations Security Council on UNSCR 1559, Ban also said that increased tension in Lebanon was "fueled among other things by speculation and public pronouncements concerning the proceeding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon,” according to Haq.

Ban warned that increasingly entrenched positions for and against the tribunal were polarizing the country, Haq added.

The tribunal's prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, on Friday filed an amended indictment based on further evidence in the probe into the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s then prime minister Rafik Hariri, his office said.

The indictment, which is being kept confidential, has to be examined by Belgian pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen, who has the responsibility of confirming it before arrest warrants or summonses are issued.

Hizbullah argues that it needs its powerful arsenal of weapons to defend the country against Israel.

The armed group has let it be known repeatedly that disarmament is not on the table for discussion.

Israel, which fought a month-long campaign against Hizbullah in 2006, says the party has accumulated 40,000 rockets including some that were capable of striking Israeli urban centers.

Palestinian factions based in refugee camps in Lebanon, which the Lebanese army does not enter, are also armed.

Source: Agence France Presse


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