BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman cancelled for the second time the National Dialogue session scheduled this week, his office reported Saturday.
“President Sleiman informed members of the National Dialogue Committee his decision to postpone National Dialogue session scheduled for Monday in Baabda,” the president’s office said.
It added that no other date has been set for the upcoming session.
His decision comes as the Future Movement continue their boycott on all-party talks which Sleiman had hoped could end the current government crisis.
Future Movement MP Nabil De Freij said Saturday the March 14 group should not be blamed for boycotting Dialogue sessions, saying a return to the talks would not ease political tension in the country.
"No party can blame March 14 for boycotting this dialogue because items that were agreed on during last dialogue sessions were not respected,” De Freij told Voice of Lebanon radio station.
He was referring to the Baabda Declaration adopted by rival leaders in one of last year’s sessions which stipulates that Lebanon should be at a distance from regional conflicts particularly events in Syria.
“A return to Dialogue will not contribute to easing political tensions because Hezbollah's decision to use arms does not fall to Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah but is a foreign decision and Hezbollah violated the Baabda Declaration when they launched Ayyoub plane,” he added.
The Future Movement, along with some of its allies in the March 14 coalition, are boycotting National Dialogue sessions, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Cabinet and the formation of a neutral one to oversee the upcoming parliamentary election.
The opposition’s move is aimed at adding further pressure on the Cabinet to step down in the aftermath of the October assassination of Intelligence Chief Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan.
After Sleiman’s efforts to convene National Dialogue failed, MP Walid Jumblatt launched an initiative in November to prevent the country from plunging into "Sunni-Shiite strife" by holding contacts with rival factions in a bid to resume the multi-party talks.
His efforts have so far been fruitless.
Political sources earlier told The Daily Star that Sleiman would cancel the session but that he was hesitant to do so because it would be frustrating for the Lebanese and would deal a shock to foreign investors.
Sleiman resumed National Dialogue sessions in June of 2012 in the presence of rival leaders except for Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea to discuss the issue of Hezbollah’s arsenal.
Geagea has doubted Hezbollah's willingness to discuss the issue.
The president proposed a national defense strategy that would benefit from the resistance group’s arms and would meet the demands of opposing parties.
Discussion was halted following Hasan’s killing.