Prime Minister Tammam Salam heads the ministerial committee meeting at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Monday, March 3, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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Rival ministers failed Monday to make any breakthrough over the thorny issue of the resistance, the remaining obstacle delaying the Cabinet's draft policy statement, and suspended their talks for three days due to some ministers' travel plans.Monday's was the eighth meeting held by the seven-member ministerial committee tasked with drafting a policy statement since Prime Minister Tammam Salam announced a 24-member Cabinet on Feb. 15 . The meeting was held against the backdrop of tension between President Michel Sleiman and Hezbollah over whether a resistance clause should be included in the Cabinet's policy statement.The resistance issue, or the use of Hezbollah's arms to protect Lebanon against a possible Israeli attack, is holding up the Cabinet's draft policy statement after the rival ministers had agreed on "a satisfactory formula" over the Baabda Declaration.Berri and Hezbollah have vowed not to budge on the inclusion of the resistance clause in the Cabinet's policy statement.Jumblatt entered the fray over the policy statement by urging rival parties to seek a consensus formula over the contentious issues of the Baabda Declaration and the resistance.
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