BEIRUT: The Baabda Declaration should be at the heart of the future government, head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea said Sunday, outright rejecting Hezbollah’s tripartite formula of “the Army, the people, the resistance.”
Geagea, who heavily criticized Hezbollah for its involvement in the Syrian conflict, called on former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to return to Lebanon, saying: “As for you, my friend, Saad Hariri, it is my great responsibility to invite you to return but I will never call on you to stay where you are because Lebanon and your comrades from the Cedar Revolution truly miss you.”
He also laid out the traits a future president should have to restore the prestige of the post.
“The government we are seeking is that of harmony rather than schizophrenia, of construction rather than destruction and disruption, a government of stability and reform rather than corruption and paralysis,” Geagea said in his speech, commemorating the anniversary of his party’s martyrs.
"We will no longer agree to a government, be it political, technocrat, unifying, neutral or partisan, if the Baabda Declaration is not the foundation of the ministerial statement,” he added.
Geagea demanded a government “of new blood,” one that would be able to revitalize the economy by attracting capital and tourism.
“We want a national government that can be concerned, exclusively, with its people's affairs, not fighting devils and supporting the regime of prisons and graves, involving Lebanon in regional conflicts,” he said.
While Geagea and his allies in the March 14 coalition have called for a Cabinet of nonpartisan ministers under Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, Hezbollah and the March 8 alliance have called for a national unity Cabinet.
Salam’s efforts to form a new Cabinet lineup have been forestalled by these competing conditions, delaying the government formation for over four months.
Hezbollah has also maintained that the tripartite formula of “the Army, the people, and the resistance” is the only means to protect Lebanon from Israeli aggression and should be adopted by the next government.
Geagea, however, said Hezbollah eradicated the significance of that formula when it intervened militarily in Syria.
“As for the formula of the ‘Army, people, and resistance,’ it was long gone in Qusair,” Geagea said, referring to the Syrian border town where Hezbollah fighters first fought rebels alongside regime forces.
“What is needed today is the tripartite formula of ‘the people, the state, the institutions,’” he added.
This formula was killed at the hands of Hezbollah,” Geagea said.
The LF leader, known to be a staunch critic of Hezbollah, described Lebanon as facing its “most difficult days,” due to the resistance group’s activities in Lebanon and Syria.
“ Lebanon is passing its worst days because an armed party decided, on behalf of the Lebanese and contrary to their will, to seize national decisions and act as it pleases ... opening the doors of hell on the Lebanese,” he said.
“ Lebanon is passing its worst days because this party decided that the path to Palestine was not found with state institutions, the Baabda Declaration or [U.N. Security Council Resolution] 1701, but with the dead in Qusair, Aleppo, Homs and Ghouta,” Geagea added.
Hezbollah has maintained that its presence in Syria was limited and was a preemptive approach to safeguard the country from the growing threat of takfiri groups.
Geagea also spoke about the repercussions of Hezbollah fighting in support of its longtime ally President Bashar Assad.
“Hezbollah's involvement in oppressing the Syrian people antagonized tens of states and hundreds of Arabs, Muslims and Christians, as well as international public opinion,” he said.
“Lebanon's reputation was distorted as a result, serving a blow to the basis of the Lebanese state,” Geagea added.
"Such interference along with Hezbollah’s exclusivity in bearing arms and its disregard for the Constitution and will of the Lebanese forced the collapse of the National Covenant," Geagea said.
Describing Hezbollah as an alternative to Assad’s hegemony in Lebanon, Geagea vowed to resist this reality with “more ferocity than we did when we confronted” the Syrian regime.
Geagea blatantly accused Hezbollah of attacking Baabda Palace to pressure President Michel Sleiman to change his stances.
“The Katyusha rocket became a national symbol ... as Baabda Palace became Haifa and the Defense Ministry, further than Haifa,” he said, using Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s famous phrase that his party’s rockets could reach areas further than Haifa in Israel.
One two occasions, rockets landed near Baabda Palace and the Defense Ministry’s headquarters in Yarze.
“He who seeks the departure of the president is the one that either seeks a superficial president in the upcoming presidential elections or to disrupt these elections,” Geagea said.
The Christian leader laid out what he said should be the characteristics of a future president in order to revive the post.
“We want a strong president that can re-establish the prestige of the presidency ... a president that comes up with solutions rather than one who simply manages the crisis,” he said.
“A president who negotiates rather than bargains ... a president that can purify the public sector and reform what was corrupted by decades of tutelage,” he said.
Commenting on the developments of the so-called Arab Spring, Geagea called on Christians to remain rooted in their land and become part of the revolution, and not just stand on the sidelines.
He also said that dictatorships only offer revolutionaries with two options: “the takfiri threat or a dictatorship of takfiris with secular cover.”
“We say no to Taliban-style takfiris and no to Baath dictatorships,” he said, as he saluted the sacrifices of the Syrian people.