BEIRUT — The question of Hezbollah's arms — technically illegal under Lebanese law — requires a "broad national understanding," caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati told UN special envoy Joanna Wronecka on Monday, one day after the party staged its largest war games media event in years.
Asked by Wronecka about Hezbollah's military exercises on Sunday, Mikati said the government "refuses anything that can undermine the sovereignty of the state," according to a press release from his office.
"The issue of Hezbollah's weapons, in particular, requires a broad national understanding and must be among the priorities of the coming phase," Mikati added. "Currently, the government insists on preserving security stability throughout Lebanon."
On Sunday, Hezbollah staged a military demonstration near Mleeta, South Lebanon, ostensibly to observe Resistance and Liberation Day, which marks the 2000 withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon.
The party showed off its weapons, artillery mortars and drones to a crowd of local and international media, while fighters paraded in all-terrain vehicles and on motorcycles.
Born after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, Hezbollah is the only Lebanese party that did not turn over its weapons following the end of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990).
UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed after the July 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, calls for a "permanent ceasefire" and the disarmament of Hezbollah.
During the Monday meeting with Wronecka, Mikati stressed "the cooperation between the Lebanese Army and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and Lebanon's commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 1701."