BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman expressed support for the National Charter and Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai’s call for coexistence and a strong state in a phone call to the latter Wednesday afternoon.
Sleiman praised the “national principles” included in the charter, including the construction of a “just, modern state that focuses on Lebanese unity and coexistence based on the National Pact and parity [between Muslims and Christians].”
Sleiman also noted that the charter made reference to the Baabda declaration and the importance of maintaining Lebanon’s neutrality in the face of “external struggles,” as well as to the creation of a national defense strategy safeguarded by the Lebanese Army and security forces, and the importance of Lebanon’s commitment to fulfilling the recommendations of the Friends of Lebanon conference in New York.
He emphasized the importance of Lebanon respecting international resolutions, citing the charter’s language in calling for the preservation of democracy based on “rotating power and the rule of law and state institutions,” and urged all parties to “accept the results” of this democratic system, “rather than resorting to undermining these laws if they do not suit their interests and goals.”
Sleiman’s comments were made amid intense negotiations over the formation of a new Cabinet, which has been held up over the thorny issue of rotating ministerial portfolios, a proposal rejected by Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun.
In his phone call to Rai, Sleiman expressed hope that state institutions and future Cabinets would work in the spirit of the National Charter to “build the state based on true citizenship dreamed of by all.”
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 06, 2014, on page 3.