Lebanon's Aoun warns Israel over Hizballah
Lebanese President Michel Aoun warned Saturday that perceived threats from Israel would be met with an "appropriate response" from Lebanon.
His warning followed a complaint from the Israel's ambassador to the UN about Aoun's statements on Hizballah.
"Any attempt to hurt Lebanese sovereignty or expose the Lebanese to danger will find the appropriate response," Aoun said in an official statement quoted by Reuters.
Earlier this week, Israeli ambassador Danny Danon wrote to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to complain about Aoun describing Hizballah as playing "a complementary role to the Lebanese army" against Israel.
"As long as the Lebanese army is not strong enough to battle Israel … we feel the need for its existence," Aoun told Egypt's CBC television network on Sunday.
Aoun blasted Danon's letter as a "masked attempt to threaten security and stability" in southern Lebanon.
The UN responded to Aoun's remarks on Monday by highlighting that Resolution 1701, which was part of a ceasefire agreement to end the 2006 war, prohibits the country from fielding militias like Hizballah.
Hizballah was founded in the 1980s in response Israel's ocupation of southern Lebanon. The group, which receives significant backing from Iran and intervened in Syria in support of the Assad regime agains rebels, says its large arsenal of weapons is needed to fight against Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty.
Israel withdrawl all its forces from southern Lebanon in 2000, but Israeli jets routinely violate Lebanon's airspace.