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Aoun sees role for Hezbollah until threats to Lebanon cease

Speaking to Al-Monitor ahead of his address to the UN General Assembly in New York, Lebanese President Michel Aoun spoke about the refugee crisis facing his country, Hezbollah's role amid the ongoing regional crisis and Beirut's expanding ties with Moscow.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun delivers a speech during a rally celebrating his election on November 6, 2016, at the presidential palace in Baabda.
Lebanese lawmakers ended a two-year political vacuum October 31, 2016 by electing as president ex-army chief Michel Aoun, who promised to protect the country from spillover from the war in neighbouring Syria. / AFP / ANWAR AMRO        (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK — Lebanese President Michel Aoun, speaking to Al-Monitor Wednesday evening prior to his address before the UN General Assembly today, said that any solution to “the problem of Hezbollah” would have to come as part of a wider solution to the crises plaguing the region.

Aoun, who as head of the Free Patriotic Movement met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in 2006 to agree on defining relations between the two groups and disarming Hezbollah, said that Lebanon cannot ask the latter to disband as long as the country still faces threats. “You cannot say to Hezbollah, ‘We have to dismantle your organization,’ since Israel is provoking Lebanon and it is attacking,” he explained.

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