Hariri: Hezbollah Will Be in Gov't.

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BEIRUT, Lebanon - Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Sa'ad Hariri said Hezbollah will be part of the new government "whether Israel likes it or not."

Since Lebanon's parliamentary elections on June 7, Hariri has been trying unsuccessfully to form a unity coalition.

After managing to defeat a strong bid by Hezbollah and its allies and retain a majority in Lebanon's 128-seat parliament, the Western-backed Hariri has been stymied time and again in his efforts to form a unity government.

Speaking at the evening Ramadan meal on Tuesday, Hariri told participants that "all factions" will be included in the new government.

"The national unity government will include the [ruling] March 14 alliance, and I also want to assure the Israeli enemy that Hezbollah will be in this government whether it likes it or not because Lebanon's interests require all parties to be involved in this cabinet," the French news agency AFP quoted Hariri as saying.

Hariri wants 15 of the 30 Cabinet positions for his coalition, 10 to go to Hezbollah and five left for independents appointed by President Michel Suleiman.

This distribution of Cabinet seats would deny veto power to Hezbollah.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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