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Lebanese President Opposes Merging Hezbollah into Army
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Lebanese President Emile Lahoud said on Thursday that he opposed the suggestion, made by UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen, of integrating Hezbollah forces into the Lebanese army.

Lahoud told reporters that the proposal was actually not a new one, and its aim was to cease the function of Lebanon's "resistance forces" and null the country's ability to fight against Israeli occupation.

Roed-Larsen, who is in charge of implementing UN Security Council resolution 1559, had suggested merging Hezbollah into the Lebanese army and deploying them on the southern borders of the country.

On the Lebanon-Syria ties, Lahoud reiterated that Lebanon would like to build up a good relationship with the neighboring country on the basis of respecting sovereignty and independence. He called for a rational solution to various problems between the two countries.

Lahoud also repeated his demand for a clear and thorough investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prim Minister Rafik Hariri.

He said that the emphasis at the current stage should be laid on further investigation, and that all those involved in the murder should be on trial and given the harshest punishment.

(Xinhua News Agency April 21, 2006)

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