Lebanese PM slams Hezbollah over missing diplomats issue

By Xinhua,

Beirut : Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora has hit back at Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah for holding his government responsible for the four Iranian diplomats who went missing in 1982, a media report said Friday.

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In a statement Thursday, Seniora said his government had sent a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon in September last year, urging him to help resolve the issue of Iranian diplomats who were kidnapped during the Israeli invasion in 1982, the NBN TV reported.

The statement came in response to the comments by Nasrallah Thursday, in which he said the “Lebanese government is responsible for revealing the fate of four Iranian diplomats who were kidnapped in Lebanon in 1982”.

He also said that the Israelis have given Hezbollah a report, which says the Iranian diplomats were kidnapped by the Lebanese Forces (LF) militia at a checkpoint in north Lebanon, and were later killed.

The LF is currently holding the key portfolio of justice ministry in the present Lebanese cabinet, and therefore, Nasrallah said, the government is responsible for disclosing the fate of the missing Iranians.

“The LF has the key answers, if they turned them over to Israel, they should say. And if they killed them, they should turn over their bodies,” the Hezbollah chief said.

However, LF parliamentarian Antoine Zahra said Thursday that his party was not involved in kidnapping of the diplomats and blamed assassinated LF commander Elie Hobeika for the case.

Hobeika, also former Lebanese minister, was killed in a car bomb near his resident in east Beirut Jan 24, 2002.