BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman renewed Monday his call for dialogue to resolve the government crisis, adding that talk not violence was the only solution to the country's problems.
“Dialogue will remain the sophisticated means and the only solution to the current problems,” Sleiman was quoted by his office as saying.
The March 14 coalition has announced that it will boycott government work and not engage in dialogue until the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, whom it accuses of providing cover for the Oct. 19 assassination of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan.
The opposition group has accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of being behind the crime, holding Mikati personally responsible for the killing.
Hasan, the head of the Internal Security Forces Information Branch, was killed in a car bomb along with at least two others in the Beirut district of Ashrafieh.
“Sleiman renewed his call for everyone to be insightful given the reality and the critical circumstances that the region is going through to keep Lebanon at distance from repercussion and negative effects,” his office said.
He said distancing Lebanon from regional turmoil would help the country overcome this phase and build a state that truly meets people’s aspirations.
Although Mikati offered his resignation soon after the assassination, he has since said that he will not step down until a new government is formed in order not to plunge the country into paralysis.
The president has launched consultations with the members of the National Dialogue committee in a bid to resolve the current crisis but his efforts reached a dead-end after March 14 rejected his calls for all-party talks.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi said Monday that a general political will to change the current Cabinet under Mikati was difficult to formulate.
“This government will continue with its work as per the confidence given to it by the Parliament and nothing has changed. But if there was a general political will to change it so be it. But I think that such a will won't come so easily,” Safadi told reporters following his meeting with Mikati at the Grand Serail.
In his address Monday, Sleiman also said that "resorting to violence and the use of arms for purposes other than defending the nation does not resolve" outstanding issues, particularly the crisis.
“I think that dialogue with an open mind and pure intentions that place the country's interest above all remains the safest way to fortify the nation against foreign dangers and against the Israeli enemy and its daily violations of [U.N. Security Council Resolution] 1701,” he said.