BEIRUT: The Future parliamentary bloc Thursday rejected Hezbollah's demand for recognition of the party's resistance in the government policy statement, insisting that the document outlines the right to resistance against Israel within the confines of the Lebanese state.
The bloc also stood firm on the Baabda Declaration, which calls for distancing Lebanon from regional conflicts, particularly the Syrian war, and renewed calls for Hezbollah to withdraw from the neighboring country.
Hezbollah has admitted to fighting alongside Syrian regime forces.
“The ministerial statement should not ignore the Baabda Declaration ... not should it ignore the importance of Lebanon's [right] to a resistance against Israel, its aggression and its occupation of Lebanese territory,” said a statement at the end of the Future bloc’s weekly meeting.
It stressed that “resistance” should be restricted to the Lebanese state, which represents all Lebanese.
The Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance insists that the policy statement stipulate that Lebanon and the Lebanese have the right to resist Israeli occupation and defend the country against any Israeli attacks, effectively legitimizing Hezbollah’s arsenal.
Meanwhile, President Michel Sleiman discussed the 30-day constitutional deadline for submitting the policy statement, which expires Monday, March 17, with former Speaker Hussein Husseini and legal experts.
For his part, Maronite Cardinal Beshara Rai discussed the policy statement deadlock in separate telephone calls with Berri and Prime Minister Tammam Salam.
Rai urged both leaders to increase efforts to resolve the standoff over the policy statement “and save the state.”
The Future bloc, during its meeting under former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, recalled the “Cedar Revolution,” a chain of demonstrations triggered by the Feb. 14, 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
It renewed its commitment to a “free, Arab, independent and democratic Lebanon in the face of hegemony and domination.”
The bloc also pledged to continue fighting Israeli occupation forces, racial discrimination and the waves of extremism, terrorism and takfiri ideology.
Lebanon has been hit by a spate of deadly bomb attacks linked to the nearly three-year-old Syrian conflict.
“March 14 will not abandon its commitment to the Lebanese cause and will continue to strive to achieve the goals of the Lebanese people who created the [Cedar] Revolution,” the Future bloc said.