Prime Minister Tammam Salam, center, heads the ministerial committee at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Discussions within a ministerial committee tasked with drafting a policy statement are back to square one after President Michel Sleiman and March 14 ministers insisted that the Baabda Declaration be adopted as the main document to shield Lebanon against regional turmoil, ministerial sources said Monday.Shortly before the committee convened, Sleiman met at Baabda Palace with committee member Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil from Speaker Nabih Berri's parliamentary bloc.During his meetings with Raad and Khalil, Sleiman insisted that the Baabda Declaration be adopted as the main document in the Cabinet's policy statement, a March 8 ministerial source said. Sleiman's stance was swiftly backed by the committee's March 14 ministers, who have for long demanded that the Baabda Declaration be adopted in the Cabinet's policy statement, the source said. However, Hezbollah, represented in the committee by Minister of State Mohammad Fneish, will not relinquish the principle of the resistance and the right of Lebanon to this resistance, the March 8 source said.March 14 ministers say if agreement is reached on a formula in the policy statement that mentions the resistance but not the Baabda Declaration, they will resign, the source said.
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