Lebanon News

Salam: Dispute over resistance tied to role of state

Prime Minister Tammam Salam arrives at the presidential palace in Baabda, Sunday, March 30, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam said Tuesday that the dispute over Hezbollah’s arms is tied to the role of the state in decisions of war and peace, adding that Lebanese intervention in Syria should stop.

In an interview with Sky News Arabia, Salam also said that the influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon should end, but that such a step required political consensus.

“The dispute is not over the principle of the resistance, but the use of the resistance’s arms domestically, which poses questions regarding the state and who holds the power over decisions of war and peace,” Salam said.

“Such a decision should be in the hands of the state and the resistance should know that there is a state,” he added.

“What is needed is to find a meeting point between the need for a resistance against occupation and the need for the role of the state,” Salam said.

Speaking on Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria, Salam reiterated that all forms of intervention in Syrian affairs should stop “in order to achieve disassociation, which can lessen the repercussions of the conflict on Lebanon."

He also spoke about the overwhelming number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which has reached over one million. Salam said third of Lebanon’s population was made up of refugees.

“That is something that has never happened anywhere in the world,” he said.

“We can no longer leave things be the way they are. We should make a decision to stop the influx of the Syrian refugees, and this requires political agreement,” he added.

Salam played down foreign influence in Lebanon’s presidential election, and expressed hope that Wednesday’s session would see the election of a new president.

“Until now, the presidential election has not yet witnessed direct foreign intervention, although there is foreign influence. Foreign influences on Lebanon are not new,” he said.

“All possibilities are on the table for Wednesday’s session. The current situation resembles that of 1970 when Suleiman Franjieh was elected with one additional vote,” Salam added.

None of the presumed candidates could secure a two third majority for Wednesday’s parliament session. So far, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and MP Robert Ghanem are the only two official nominees.

“A new president can be elected with a simple majority and that depends on where the political parties will stand,” Salam said.





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