Hezbullah mandated to defend Lebanon

Lebanon's government agreed on a manifesto that analysts say gives Hezbullah the right to defend the nation and liberate occupied land.

Lebanese Information Minister Tareq Mitri said that the policy statement recognizes "the right of Lebanon, its people, its army and its resistance to liberate its land in the Shebaa Farms, Kfarshuba Hill and Ghajar," occupied by Israel without mentioning Hezbullah directly.

The manifesto underlines that "the unity and the authority of the state would be the guiding principle of all government decisions and actions," Mitri said on Friday.

The manifesto that will allow Lebanon's new national unity government, in which the opposition has the power of veto, took office after agreement was reached in 14 sessions and will be presented to the parliament next week for a vote of confidence.

The key issue of the manifesto has been the arms held by Hezbullah, the powerful political resistance movement. The Hezbullah-led opposition defended the "right to resist" Israel, while the western-backed ruling bloc insists that only Lebanese army can carry weapons.

The ministerial committee that drafted the manifesto comprised 16 ministers from the ruling majority as well as 11 ministers from the opposition.

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