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Lebanon's Hariri Vows to Never Surrender to Hezbollah


Lebanon's parliamentary majority leader has vowed never to surrender to Hezbollah, as the army prepared to intervene in fighting between the militant group and pro-government militias.

Saad al-Hariri told reporters in Beirut Tuesday there would be no political surrender to Hezbollah, or Syria and Iran. He accused the countries of supporting Hezbollah to impose their will on Lebanon.

The news conference was Hariri's first public appearance since Hezbollah fighters attacked parts of Beirut last week.

Earlier Tuesday, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal blamed Iran for what he called a "coup attempt" in Lebanon. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the charge, saying Iran is the only country not interfering in Lebanon.

Lebanon's army announced plans today to use force to stop the worst sectarian fighting to hit Lebanon since its civil war ended in 1990.

Until now, the military has not intervened in the conflict that began May 7 when the government declared Hezbollah's telecommunications network illegal and fired an airport security chief for his alleged ties to Hezbollah.

The fighting has killed at least 62 people and wounded at least 200. Hariri's pro-government television station was also forced off the air, but it resumed broadcasting today.

Lebanese officials say they expect an Arab League delegation to arrive in Beirut Wednesday to try to mediate an end to the fighting.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a joint statement with 10 nations Monday calling for an immediate end to the violence. The so-called "Friends of Lebanon" group includes the United States and its allies in Europe and the Middle East (Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Spain).

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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