BEIRUT: Hezbollah welcomed Sunday former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s announcement that he could join a government with his March 8 rivals but said the ministerial statement, divisive for some in the March 14 alliance, needed to be dealt with after the Cabinet was formed.
“We do not want to discuss the content and details of the ministerial statement now and our convictions cannot be shaken by thunder and they [March 14 alliance] perhaps uphold their convictions that they want to include in the debate over the policy statement,” MP Mohammad Raad, who heads Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, said.
Raad’s stance on the ministerial statement, which mirrors that of Speaker Nabih Berri, contrasts with that of the Lebanese Forces which insists agreement be reached prior to the Cabinet formation.
“Any Cabinet that will be formed should be backed by political consensus of March 14 and should have a prior and clear formulation of the ministerial statement,” LF leader Samir Geagea said Saturday.
Geagea called for dropping the tripartite “The Army, the people and the Resistance” equation, present in previous ministerial statements, and adopting the Baabda Declaration – a pact that calls for distancing Lebanon from the Syria crisis.
He also denied any rift in the March 14 coalition after Hariri voiced readiness to share power with Hezbollah in a national coalition Cabinet, describing the Future Movement leader’s stance as a “good-will gesture.”
In an interview with Reuters published Friday, Hariri, who leads the March 14 coalition, said he was ready to share power with Hezbollah in a national coalition government if that’s what it takes to end the political deadlock in the country.
Raad stressed Hezbollah’s and the March 8 coalition’s “openness” so long as the initiative aimed at taking the country out of the “current crisis.”
“But this requires concessions from both sides,” Raad added.
Hezbollah MP Nawaf Moussawi also welcomed Hariri’s stance over the Cabinet formation.
“We recently heard positive stances [over the Cabinet]. We have been positive to efforts to form a national unity Cabinet right from the beginning,” he said.
“We are here today to say we will meet positivity with positivity and we will reply in kind because we are keen on preserving the unity of our country to confront challenges facing it,” he said, apparently referring to the Future Movement leader's recent comments.
Hariri’s remarks this week are expected to seal a political deal on an all-embracing Cabinet based on 8-8-8 lineup which would break the 10-month government deadlock.
The deal, suggested by Berri and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt, will most likely involve the Future Movement, the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance and Jumblatt's parliamentary bloc.