Sunni politician and media businessman Saad Hariri said on Tuesday that he would not "surrender to the Iranian and Syrian regimes." J-M. Quemener and J. Le Masurier report directly from Lebanon.
The Shi'ite Hezbollah group and its opposition allies have routed supporters of the Sunni-led government in
"They simply are demanding that we surrender, they want
"They will not be able to obtain Saad al-Hariri's signature ... on a deed to surrender to the Iranian and Syrian regimes."
Hezbollah said this was a declaration of war and swiftly took over much of
Hariri's Future TV, forced off the air during the battles, resumed broadcasting shortly before the news conference.
Hariri, son of slain ex-premier Rafik al-Hariri, said the two decisions, now a dead letter, were no threat to Hezbollah.
"This was not an attack on Hezbollah. This was a decision made by
Bitterly questioning the Shi'ite Islamist group's promise to use its arsenal only against
"When these same arms that came from
Arab League mediators are due in
The army measures were not seen as a challenge to Hezbollah, which has avoided friction with the military - whose own composition reflects
Wary of fragmenting its ranks, the army has stayed neutral in the conflict, which has killed 81 people, wounded 250 and raised Arab and international concern over
"Of course, for
Troops took over more positions held by Druze forces loyal to pro-government leader Walid Jumblatt, whose mountain fiefdom east of
But in the hill resort town of
"The army's presence here is only for show. It won't be able to do anything if the truce is violated," he told Reuters. "We have shown it all respect but we will not hand over our guns."
Even if the army halts all fighting, it has no plans to remove street barricades paralysing
U.S. President George W. Bush is to consult allies on how to assist
Bush will travel to
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner hinted at a possible U.N. Security Council resolution on
"A resolution, which is still not entirely complete, could be proposed to the Security Council," Kouchner told parliament.
The government has for 18 months resisted opposition demands for veto rights in cabinet, though Hezbollah has now shown it has the military muscle to block decisions it dislikes anyway.
Political turmoil has left
Date created : 2008-05-14