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Friday, March 6, 2009

Hezbollah hails UK 'policy revision'

Fri, 06 Mar 2009 16:46:25 GMT | PressTV

Ibrahim al-Moussawi
Hezbollah has welcomed a change in Britain's tone which signals London's willingness to hold talks with the Lebanese resistance movement.

Ibrahim al-Moussawi, a spokesman for the Islamic group, said on Friday that "this policy revision is a step in the right direction and we shall see how it translates in practical terms."

Another official for Hezbollah said that the "movement was waiting on what steps Britain would take after," dpa reported.

The remarks follows those by British Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell who earlier said Britain had reconsidered its stance on Hezbollah for its contribution in forming a national unity government in July - which was aimed at putting a political standoff in Lebanon to rest.

On Friday, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said low-level contacts with Hezbollah were authorized to "make absolutely clear out determination to see United Nations Security Council resolution 1701, which calls for the disbanding of militias, among other things in Lebanon, taken forward with real speed."

The decision marks a significant change in Britain's policy, which has shunned contact with Hezbollah since 2005 due to its anti-Israeli efforts. The revision will also distance London from Washington's position toward the Islamic group which it has enlisted as a terrorist organization.

A Foreign Office spokesman, however, said the government was exploring contacts only with Hezbollah's political wing, but would have no contacts with the movement's military wing, banned by the British government in July 2008.

Widely popular along the Lebanese, Hezbollah enjoys 14 seats in the Lebanese parliament and has taken part in successive Lebanese governments since 2005. Though it only has one minister in the current cabinet, it is deemed to have a sweeping power over important decisions.

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