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Lebanon: Geagea renews calls for Hezbollah's disarmament

Christian Lebanese Forces party leader Samir Geagea on April 26, 2012 [JOSEPH EID/AFP/GettyImages]
Christian Lebanese Forces party leader Samir Geagea on April 26, 2012 [JOSEPH EID/AFP/GettyImages]

The leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces (LF) party, Samir Geagea, has called on the Hezbollah movement to disarm and for its grip on the country to end.

"All strategic decision-making should return to the Lebanese state… and security and military matters should be handled exclusively by the Lebanese army," Geagea told AFP.

"No one… should be able to transport missiles from one place to another without the permission and knowledge of the military," he added in reference to the armed wing of the powerful Iranian-supported Shia party.

The Saudi-backed LF has emerged as the largest Christian party following Lebanon's 15 May general elections, amid an unprecedented economic crisis, having surpassed the Hezbollah-allied Free Patriotic Movement.

The Hezbollah-led bloc lost its parliamentary majority, although Hezbollah and its ally Amal gained all 27 parliament seats allocated for Shia lawmakers while other members of the coalition lost seats to the LF and independent candidates.

READ: Washington urges formation of Lebanon government 

While the elections showed no clear majority, Geagea revealed that his party is in "intensive talks" with the independent lawmakers, stating: "We agree at a minimum on the need to build an actual Lebanese state… away from corruption, clientelism, quotas, and private interests."

Speaking at his residence in Maarab, northeast of Beirut, the 69-year-old was quoted as saying: "No one should be allowed to use their weapons inside the country."

"This is no longer acceptable," he added.

In accordance with the Taif Accord which ended the country's civil war in 1990, only Hezbollah was allowed to retain its arsenal, which outguns the national army's. In 1991 the LF was disarmed of its heavy weapons with some of its units being transferred to the military.

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