Hezbollah disarmament unclear
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The U.N. resolution that requires Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias to disband and disarm applies to Hezbollah only "to a certain extent," the Lebanese prime minister has said.
The militant group Hezbollah is considered a political party by Lebanon, and a terrorist group by the United States.
Najib Mikati, on a visit to the United Nations, acknowledged that Resolution 1559, adopted by the Security Council last September, directs all foreign troops to leave Lebanon immediately, and demands the disarming of militias.
However, the language in the resolution does not relate to Hezbollah, Mikati told a reporter.
"Our terminology -- Hezbollah -- is not a militia. It's a resistance ... and there is a difference between resistance and militia," Mikati said.
When asked whether Resolution 1559 also requires Hezbollah to disarm, the prime minister replied, "to a certain extent."
The resolution also requires the extension of Lebanese government control over its territory, and free and fair elections without foreign interference.
In a written statement released Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan repeated his call for implementation of the resolution.
On Wednesday, the council -- while noting "significant and noticeable progress towards implementing some of the provisions contained in Resolution 1559" -- expressed concern in a written statement that there has been "no progress on the implementation of other provisions of the resolution."
In particular, the council said, there are concerns that Lebanon has not completed "the disarmament of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militia and the extension of the control of the government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory, and that the requirements of the resolution have not yet been met."
That prevents the government from exercising its full sovereignty, the council has said.
Referring to the election planned late this month, Annan commended Mikati for his efforts to ensure that it will be held on schedule in a "free and credible manner."
Mikati said Lebanon welcomes assistance from the European Union and the United Nations in holding a "free, fair and transparent election."
Annan also thanked the Lebanese government for supporting the U.N. verification team, which was sent to Syria to verify whether Syria has pulled out all its troops, intelligence agents and military equipment. The team has not yet reported its findings.
Meanwhile, a blast Friday in the Lebanese port city of Jounieh, north of Beirut, has reportedly killed one person and wounded four others.
The blast took place at a city square in a Christian neighborhood, police said.
Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation said the explosion took place at the entrance to the old Jounieh souk, or market, and targeted the Christian radio station "The Voice of Love," which is connected to St. John's Church.
Pictures from the scene showed the building, and others, damaged, although the full extent of the damage could not be seen. Crowds of men flocked into the area. Emergency officials were collecting evidence and keeping order.
Three Egyptian workers were among the wounded, LBC said.
The Lebanese opposition held a major meeting Friday evening in Bkirki, near Jounieh, at the headquarters of the Christian Maronite Patriarch.
The blast came minutes before that meeting ended, when the opposition was to deliver a statement concerning coming elections.
Associate producer Lauren Rivera contributed to this report.