President Michel Sleiman, left, receives Prime Minister designate Tammam Salam at the Presidential Palace in Beirut, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. (The Daily Star/Baabda)
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Despite stepped up political activity aimed at hastening the Cabinet formation, differences between the rival factions over the policy statement threaten to delay the birth of a new government, a senior March 8 source said Wednesday.According to the source, President Michel Sleiman, Berri, Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam and MP Walid Jumblatt call for constitutional steps, that is, the formation of a new Cabinet, to be taken first before deciding on its policy statement.At the root of the problem holding up the Cabinet formation is Hezbollah's insistence the tripartite equation "The Army, the people and the Resistance" be mentioned in the Cabinet's policy statement as had been the case with previous governments.But the March 14 coalition, which opposes Hezbollah's arsenal and its military intervention in Syria, has called for this equation to be replaced with the Baabda Declaration in the policy statement of any Cabinet. Berri insisted the policy statement should be discussed after the Cabinet formation in comments published by As-Safir Wednesday.Sleiman met separately with Salam, former President Amine Gemayel, caretaker Social Minister Wael Abu Faour and March 14 MP Butros Harb to discuss the ongoing consultations on the Cabinet formation.
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