Hezbollah official: UN report on militias biased in favor of Israel
UN releases biannual report on implementation of militia disarmament Security Council resolution.
The Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah on Wednesday described a biannual United Nations report on the implementation of a militia-disarmament resolution as "biased" and serving the interests of Israel, according to media outlets.
"The report is a Zionist report which aims to cause sedition in Lebanon," Sheikh Naim Qassem, Hezbollah's deputy secretary general, was quoted by the Hezbollah-run Al Manar television network as saying.
"The report is clearly biased, and casts doubt over the work of the Security Council and the UN," Qassem added.
On Monday, the United Nations released the 11th report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559, which was adopted in 2004 and calls for "the disbanding and disarmament" of all militias in Lebanon, including Hezbollah.
The UN report, which was prepared by Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN secretary general's special envoy for the implementation of Resolution 1559, said Hezbollah's arms posed "a key challenge to the safety of Lebanese civilians and to the authority of the government."
It said the UN has information that "appears to corroborate the allegation of smuggling of weapons across the land borders."
But Qassem said the "comments on arms smuggling [to Hezbollah] lacked viable sources."
He also criticized the report's description of Hezbollah as a militia. "Hezbollah is not a militia, as the [UN] new-old report describes it, but a Lebanese resistance movement that defends its territory and deters aggression," the organization said in a statement.
The UN report called on the Lebanese Shiite group, which is backed by Iran and Syria, to "complete the transformation ... into a solely Lebanese political party."
Hezbollah currently has a 13-member parliamentary bloc in the Lebanese House of Representatives and two ministers in the national unity government, which is headed by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
The UN report came days after Israel and the United States said they suspected that Syria was supplying Scud ballistic missiles to Hezbollah, warning that the trade could bring war to Lebanon.
Syria and Lebanon have denied any such arms transfer.
On Tuesday, Hariri compared Israel's charges of Scud missile transfers to Hezbollah as "similar to those which were made of the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
According to the Lebanese daily newspaper An Nahar, Hariri's comment has angered U.S. officials.
The paper on Wednesday said U.S. officials believe that Hariri's comment implicitly accused Washington of knowing that the reports are unfounded, yet blaming Syria to cause tension in the region.
In 2003, the U.S. and Britain accused former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein of possessing weapons of mass destruction, leading to the invasion of Iraq. No such weapons were ever found in Iraq.