Conflict & Justice

Hezbollah says UN chief not welcome in Lebanon


Peacekeeping soldiers with the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) inspect one of their damaged vehicle at the scene where a powerful bomb struck a UN peacekeeping patrol in the Lebanese coastal town of Tyre on December 9, 2011. UN chief, Ban-ki Moon, will visit Lebanon on Friday.



Can Hezbollah decide what international officials are welcome in Lebanon? Well, they do control the Beirut's international airport. 

United Nations secretary-general, Ban-ki Moon, is scheduled to visit Lebanon this week to meet with UN peace-keeping troops in south Lebanon. But Hezbollah, a powerful Shiite militia, says he is not welcome in the country, AFP reports

"Ban Ki-moon is not welcome in Beirut, nor is the imposter Terje Roed-Larsen or the messenger of evil and conspiracies Jeffrey Feltman," Sheikh Mohammed Yazbeck, who heads the party's religious council, was quoted as saying over the weekend by local media.

Feltman is the US assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs and a former ambassador to Lebanon.

Larsen is the UN special coordinator for the implementation of resolution 1559, which calls for the disarmament of all groups other than the national Lebanese army.

Hezbollah has for the most part tolerated the UN force in south Lebanon, there since 1978 to confirm Israel's withdrawl, and normally condemns attacks against UN peacekeepers.

It was therefore unclear why the Hezbollah official lashed out at the UN chief. It was also unclear whether or not Ban-ki Moon would be arriving at the Beirut airport, which Hezbollah controls following a street battle with Lebanese government forces in 2008. 

More from GlobalPost: Hezbollah outmaneuvers everyone else