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Guterres calls on Lebanese government to prevent Hezbollah holding weapons

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A United Nations report has called on to disarm and stop all military operations, arguing the Shiite militia's activity in Syria endangers regional security and risks pushing Lebanon into conflict with its neighbors.

“I again call on Hezbollah and all other concerned parties to refrain from any military activity inside or outside the country, in accordance with the provisions of the Taif Agreement and resolution 1559,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote in the report.

“The fact that Hezbollah still has significant military assets beyond the control of the Lebanese State remains very worrying,” he added.

In May 2018, Guterres strongly criticized Hezbollah for operating as the most heavily armed militia and a political party in Lebanon and urged the militant group to halt military activities inside and outside the country, including in Syria.

Guterres also called on Lebanon’s government and armed forces “to take all measures necessary to prohibit Hezbollah and other armed groups from acquiring weapons and building paramilitary capacity” outside the authority of the state.

Hezbollah, which is mainly financed by Iran, is considered a terror group by the Arab League, US, Canada and Israel.

The group's influence over Lebanese state institutions has expanded in the last year. Together with allies that view its arsenal as an asset to Lebanon, it won more than 70 of parliament's 128 seats in an election last year.

The group has taken three of the 30 portfolios in the government formed by the Western-backed Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri in January, including the health ministry - the first time it has held a ministry with a significant budget.