BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri Saturday commended the agreement reached between rival groups over the new Cabinet's policy statement, adding that Hezbollah's controversial tripartite formula is “gone forever.”
“There will be many explanations on the agreement reached in Cabinet over the ministerial statement, but a single unambiguous fact will remain at the end: the tripartite formula of the ‘Army, the people and the resistance’ is gone forever,” Hariri said in a statement.
Rival ministers agreed early Saturday on a compromise formula over the resistance clause that broke four weeks of deadlock.
The Cabinet’s policy statement stressed the right of Lebanese citizens to "resist Israeli occupation, repulse its attacks and recover occupied territories,” emphasizing the state’s responsibility in liberating lands still occupied by Israel in south Lebanon.
Hariri, along with his allies in the March 14 coalition, insisted on eliminating the tripartite formula, arguing that Hezbollah’s role in Syria invalidated such a strategy.
The Hezbollah-led March 8 group compromised over the formula as long as it included a clause that guarantee Lebanon’s right to resistance against Israel.
“The agreement does not give any party or group any right above the authority and sovereignty of the state. It does not legitimize the use of arms by any party outside the jurisdiction of the state, its Army, or its security and military institutions, nor does it involve Lebanon in foreign wars,” Hariri said.
The leader of the Future Movement also noted that Hezbollah’s arms remained a contentious issue in the country, but said he would leave such a matter to the new president to be deal within the framework of the National Dialogue.
Hariri, who has been outside the country for almost three years for security reasons, also repeated his party’s calls for Hezbollah to pull its fighters out of Syria as the country’s civil war enters its fourth year on March 15.
“Today is an occasion to repeat our calls for Hezbollah to withdraw from the Syrian war and to end policies that only divide Lebanon and the Lebanese and result in destruction,” he said.