Thursday, July 20, 2006

Lebanese PM Calls for the Disarming of Hizb'allah. Then Retracts

And calls it a mistake in translation.

Corriere della Sera denies "the mistranslation," claiming they have the interview on tape.

The office of Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora on Thursday denied a report in the Milan-based daily "Corriere della Sera" that he called for the disarmament of Hezbollah.

Siniora`s office said in a statement that his words were distorted in translation from Italian to English.

"What the prime minister said is that the international community has not given the Lebanese government an opportunity to deal with the problem of Hezbollah`s arms, since the continuing presence of the Israeli occupation of Shebaa Farms is the reason for the weapons' location."

The statement continued, "the international community needs to assist us in persuading Israel to withdraw from Shebaa so that we can deal with the problem of Hezbollah`s arms."

"Corriere della Sera" said the publication stands by its report. "The interview was recorded," a senior staff member said.

On Thursday, the newspaper reported that the Shi'ite militia has been doing the bidding of Syria and Iran, and that it can only be disarmed with the help of the international community and once a cease-fire has been achieved in the current Middle East fighting.

"It's not a mystery that Hezbollah answers to the political agendas of Tehran and Damascus," Siniora was quoted as saying by Corriere. "The entire world must help us disarm Hezbollah. But first we need to reach a cease-fire."

He added Lebanon is still too weak to attack Hezbollah's stranglehold in the south of the country on its own.

So, did he have a change in perception over a few days, given the ongoing conflict? Or did he receive direct threats?


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