Hezbollah Torpedoes Lebanese Gov't Meeting on Disarmament

Anti-Hezbollah Lebanese minister: If Lebanon wants to liberate the south, no other armed force can be there.

A meeting of the Lebanese government on the disarming of Hezbollah south of the Litani River was canceled on Sunday following an announcement by the Shi'ite organization that it was not willing to discuss the subject. Hezbollah informed the government of its stance through the speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Beri, who serves as a conduit to the organization.

Beri informed Prime Minister Fuad Siniora of Hezbollah's decision, and Siniora decided to cancel the meeting.

This is the first time in weeks that a rift emerged in the official Lebanese stance. Officially, the government of Lebanon denied reports that any dispute has emerged.

But in an interview to Al Jazeera yesterday, Joe Sarkiss, Lebanon's minister of tourism, said that "the army will not deploy in the south unless there are no arms in the south except those of a legitimate military force and UNIFIL."

A Lebanese government source wrote on the Arab internet site Ilaf that "when it comes to crunch time, Hezbollah is refusing to give up its arms."

The same source said that the Lebanese government had opted to cancel the meeting so that the disputes will not cause a rift between the Shi'ite ministers and the rest.

Last week, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah announced that the organization had reservations regarding the UN resolution, suggesting that the group would find it difficult to meet the cease-fire decision.

On Sunday, Minister Marwan Hamada, one of the bitter opponents of Hezbollah, told the Voice of Lebanon radio station that if Lebanon is interested in liberating southern Lebanon, it would have to be the sole player in the area that is armed.

Meanwhile, analysts in Lebanon believe that the rocket attacks against the Galilee will cease today, as the cease-fire agreement goes into effect.