Lebanon News

Future shows signs of compromise over resistance row

From left, Future bloc MPs Ammar Houri, Ahmad Fatfat and Atef Majdalani attend a press conference at the Parliament in Beirut, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The Future bloc denied allegations Thursday that it opposed the inclusion of the resistance clause in the Cabinet’s policy statement, rejecting instead the use of arms inside Lebanon, in a sign of a possible compromise over the disputed issue.

“Future Movement reiterates that the Baabda Declaration should be in the ministerial statement and is surprised that some March 8 figures were promoting false assumptions that [the Future bloc] rejected the inclusion of the resistance against Israel clause,” the bloc said in a statement after its weekly meeting.

"The truth is that some of the [March 8] coalition's components insist on legitimizing the use of arms in Lebanon and from Lebanese soil without the state's authority,” the statement added, read by MP Bassem Shab.

“We cannot accept this issue or agree to it,” it said, drawing an example from “Hezbollah’s unilateral decision” to fight in Syria.

Rival ministers tasked with drafting the government’s policy statement have failed on several occasions to reach a compromise on the issue of the resistance against Israel with the March 14 coalition arguing such a clause would legitimize Hezbollah’s arms.

March 8 group has said they compromised over the issue after they agreed to drop the tripartite formula of the "Army, the people and the resistance,” insisting on the resistance clause as a matter of principle.

The Future bloc’s remarks come a day after Speaker Nabih Berri said he would show more flexibility and end the row over the ministerial statement on condition that his rivals do the same first.

Berri held talks with Health Minister Wael Abu Faour who has been acting as a mediator between rival groups.

The National News Agecny said the meeting in AIn el-Tineh discussed developments with regards to the policy statement.

“The bloc sees a necessity in drafting policy statement that reflects the aspirations of the Lebanese people and allows the government to begin work, strengthen stability and prepare for the presidential elections,” the bloc said.

The bloc also condemned what it described as “the shameful way and the arrogant tone Hezbollah and its allies responded to President Michel Sleiman,” referring to the latter’s recent remarks that the tripartite formula should be “the Army, the people, and common principles.”

“The president voiced a national, political viewpoint granted by the Constitution and those who did not agree should have responded in a political manner rather than personally attacking and launching malicious media campaigns,” it said.

“The bloc also rejects the authoritarian way of thinking that does not accept or tolerate anyone,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tammam Salam said distrust among rival groups was the main factor obstructing the work of the policy panel.

“It is not the president’s stances that has obstructed the drafting of the policy but distrust among political groups that needs time to be resolved and overcome,” Salam told reporters at the Grand Serail.

“I've said on many occasions that the meetings of the policy panel were progressing and full of political proposals which is something very positive,” he said.

“We have not given up yet. The Paris conference affirmed the world's trust in us and we should trust ourselves,” Salam, who chairs the committee meetings, said.

Asked whether the Paris conference placed conditions on the Lebanese right to resistance, Salam said: "We did not hear anything about that, but we received support for Lebanon and its needs to face challenges, primarily socio-economic conditions."





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