Last updated: 28 May, 2012

Lebanon to resume national dialogue to tackle Hezbollah arsenal

Lebanese President’s Michel Sleiman’s office announced on Monday that a national dialogue to resume on June 11 will tackle Hezbollah’s arms and the proliferation of weapons in the country as a whole.

According to a statement, Sleiman invited political leaders to “discuss the national defence strategy” at a session aimed at addressing “the issue of arms.”

Hezbollah’s arsenal and the issue of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon will be up for discussion, the statement said, as will ways to quell the proliferation of arms across the country.

Hezbollah considers its weapons to be a legitimate defence against Israel, whereas the opposition believes that the state should have the monopoly on arms and decisions concerning war and peace.

Sleiman’s call was issued “in light of recent events,” the statement said, adding that “consensus” between parties is the best way forward.

Tensions between rival pro- and anti-Syrian camps have flared into violence in the past two weeks, stoking fears that the conflict in neighbouring Syria might spill over and that a Sunni-Shiite confrontation was in the making.

Clashes last week in a majority Sunni neighbourhood of Beirut left two people dead and several wounded, while a group of Shiite pilgrims kidnapped in Syria while on their way home from Iran has yet to be released.