Lebanon Speaker Nabih Berri resumed part III of the parliamentary session at around 10:30 to debate the Ministerial Statement and grant the vote of confidence to the cabinet of PM Saad Hariri
FPM MP Ibrahim Kenaan was the first to start the debate by stating that his bloc does not want to amend the constitution nor to improve on it, rather, “we want a commitment not to pass the president’s privileges on to the cabinet.” He stressed that equal rights and privileges should be given to Christians and Muslims
Lebanese Forces bloc MP Elie Keyrouz said that Hezbollah’s arms have lost legitimacy in the Taif Accord and the Lebanese constitution, especially after the Lebanese no longer agree on the nature of the party’s weapons. He added ” the concept of the Resistance is no longer valid after Israel’s withdrawal from South Lebanon in 2000 and therefor there is no justification for maintaining Hezbollah’s arms or any weapon outside the authority of the Lebanese state.” He added :”the state would not be a real state if it does not have the sole authority to take any decision it sees fit.
Hezbollah MP Ali Ammar interjected by urging Speaker Nabih Berri to strike out from the session’s minutes all statements by MPs that attack or mention Hezbollah. Ammar responded to Keyrouz’s criticism of Hezbollah and said, “Since I am one of those accused of being an outlaw, and since the majority is a majority, then the vote of confidence should not be granted to this cabinet, as the current government includes two Hezbollah ministers.”
Lebanon First bloc MP Nohad al-Mashnouq said the Resistance is necessary to defend Lebanon, but, he added, it should operate under the jurisdiction of the state.
He also commented on the issue of Palestinian naturalization, saying it is a sensitive issue, but added ” Palestinians living in Lebanon should be granted their civil rights.
He commented on the Lebanese-Syrian relations, by saying that the relationship should evolve “normally and gradually” on a step by step basis.
Lebanon First bloc MP Khaled Zahraman said ” The nation is now in its entirety working in the citizen’s interest. That’s why there is no need for an opposition anymore.”
FPM MP Hikmat Deeb said : You deserve the vote of confidence but we would hold you accountable for any mistake in the future.
FPM MP Farid al-Khazen said : We are in a political honeymoon and the new stage suggests the end of the past political era.
Lebanon First bloc MP Mohammad al-Hajjar said : I didn’t notice there was a clear reference to the state authority although the state was mentioned more than once in the policy statement.
Kataeb bloc MP Nadim Gemayel said that he rejects Article 6 of the statement pertaining to Hezbollah and its arms, adding that “some agreed with it only to avoid chaos.” He said that “Hezbollah’s weapons contradict the concept of restricting arms to the state only.”
Gemayel commented on Lebanese-Syrian relations and asked, “Do brotherly relations mean delaying border demarcation, stalling in resolving the issue of Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons and issuing warrants to Lebanese officials ?”
Kataeb MP Samer Saadeh said : The policy statement’s 6th clause hinders the establishment of state institutions and the state of law that each Lebanese strives for.
Hezbollah MP Nawwaf Moussawi said, “The forces of evil could not defeat the Resistance on the battlefield. No one can strike it out either from history or the Ministerial Statement.” He challenged those who objected to Article 6 of the Ministerial Statement, which pertains to Hezbollah’s arms, asking, “How will the Lebanese government face Israeli violations of our airspace? By saying it objects to Article 6?”
He concluded by “We still have territory occupied by Israel, and the Blue Line is not the border of the Lebanese state,”
Speaker Berri then adjourned part III of the parliamentary session at 2:30 pm second until 6:00 p.m.
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