BEIRUT: Kataeb leader Amin Gemayel said on Sunday that his party will not tolerate attempts to undermine Lebanon's sovereignty and that Hezbollah "will be confronted" in the new Government.
“The Kataeb [decided to] participate in the government to ensure we hold on to Lebanese sovereignty and there is no compromise on that,” said Gemayel during a press conference in Bikfaya.
“We disagree with Hezbollah, but we do no run away from it. We confront it in Cabinet. Isn’t better to move the conflict from the street to the table of the Council of Ministers?” he said.
“If there should be a battle, let it be political and not military; let it be civil and democratic.”
Gemayel said that forming an all-embracing Cabinet was necessary given the challenges facing Lebanon, adding that he hoped the new government would be capable of meeting all the constitutional deadlines on time.
Prime Minister Tammam Salam announced Lebanon’s new government Saturday after nearly a year of deliberations and political bickering between the country’s rival groups.
The Cabinet includes three ministers from the Kataeb party. The Lebanese Forces, the other major Christian party in the March 14 coalition, refused to take part in a national unity Cabinet with Hezbollah.
“We have been waiting for the formation of this Cabinet, which was formed after a long period and we hope that it will live up to the aspirations of the people,” Gemayel said.
“We know that the Cabinet cannot achieve miracles," he continued. "This is no secret, especially since [the Government's] term is so short--only until a new president is elected in May 25, and we insist on holding the presidential election on time,” he said.
Gemayel also hailed the sacrifices made by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his "courageous stances" which paved the way for the formation of Salam's Government.