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Hezbollah Rejects Disarmament Call

The leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon has rejected President Bush's call for the militant group to disarm.

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah says his organization needs to be armed to protect Lebanon and deter Israeli aggression. He spoke Wednesday in response to Mr. Bush, who said Hezbollah could play a political role in Lebanon if it disarmed and supported the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Mr. Bush says Hezbollah will remain designated a terrorist organization.

Mr. Bush met Wednesday at the White House with the Lebanese Patriarch of the Maronite Church, Nasrallah Sfeir. The patriarch says he looks forward to an end to the "suffocating political conditions" in Syrian-dominated Lebanon.

Meanwhile, witnesses say Syrian intelligence agents left Beirut following U.S., European and Lebanese opposition calls to do so.

Some information for this story provided by AFP and Reuters.