The only party that should possess arms in Lebanon is the state, newly-appointed Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam told Al Arabiya in his first television interview as premier.
“The only arms that should be in the country in my opinion are the legitimate arms, weapons held by the state,” Salam said.
“The state should decide on issues of the people, public matters, disputes and all what has to do with security. Any other weapon lacks legitimacy and is against the state,” he added.
The Lebanese Hezbollah group has a powerful army and is equipped with heavy weaponry supplied by Iran and the Assad regime in Syria.
Lebanese factions opposed to Hezbollah, as well as Western powers, have regularly called for disarming the movement. The guerrilla group is often accused of running a state within a state and of facilitating foreign intervention in Lebanon.
Hezbollah, however, says its army and weapons are meant to defend the country against Israel because the state’s army is incapable of doing so.
Salam came to office amid heightened political tension in Lebanon. He won almost all votes in parliament and said he hopes to bridge the divide between the U.S.- Saudi-backed opposition and the Syria- Tehran-backed Hezbollah.
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