BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam said Tuesday that the dispute over Hezbollah’s arms was 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,” he 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.”
Speaking on Hezbollah’s role in Syria, Salam reiterated that all forms of intervention in Syria should stop “in order to achieve disassociation, which can lessen the repercussions of the conflict on Lebanon.”
He also spoke about Syrian refugees in Lebanon, who have reached over 1 million. Salam said a third of Lebanon’s population was now 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.”
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 Sleiman Frangieh was elected with one additional vote.”