In These New Times

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Lebanon army: Crisis is to end

Posted by seumasach on May 12, 2008

11th May 2008 9:16

Lebanon army: Crisis is to end(ENDOFEMPIRE)

Siniora, had earlier, implored the army to live up to it’s responsibilities and thankfully they have done that.

BEIRUT: The Lebanese army said on Saturday it had frozen measures taken by the government against the Shiite Hizbollah movement, and called for all armed fighters to withdraw from the streets.

“The army command calls on all parties to (help restore calm) by ending armed protests and withdrawing gunmen from the streets and opening the roads,” the military said in a statement.

It said that the head of airport security, who had been reassigned from his job, would remain in his post pending an investigation and that the army would look into a communications network set up by the Hizbollah group.

“The head of airport security, Brigadier General Wafiq Shqeir, will remain in his post until appropriate procedural measures have been taken after a probe,” the statement said.

“As for the telecommunications network, the army will look into the issue in a manner that is not harmful to the public interest or the security of the resistance” against Israel, it said.

The military said it had taken these decisions in the light of a government wish that it rule on these matters. The army statement came shortly after Prime Minister Fuad Siniora made a televised address to the nation.

Meanwhile Hizbollah-led opposition said on Saturday it would withdraw its armed fighters from the capital and called on the country’s army to take control of Beirut, an official close to the opposition said.

“The opposition welcomes the army’s decision and will proceed with the withdrawal of all its armed elements so that control of the capital is handed over to the military,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

The official, said however, that the opposition would maintain a civil disobedience campaign against the Western-backed government.

Fourteen people were killed in fierce clashes in north Lebanon on Saturday between supporters of the government and the opposition, a security official said.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora urged the army to restore order after Hizbollah took over west Beirut and vowed his government would hold firm in its face-off with Hizbollah fighters.

“I have called on the army to live up to its national responsibilities without hesitation or delay and this has not happened until now,” Siniora said in a televised address to the nation that marked his first reaction to the sectarian clashes that have left 29 people dead in four days.


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