The Future Movement which has the largest parliamentary bloc in the parliament and within the March 14 alliance issued a statement on Monday slamming Prime Minister Najib Mikati , accusing him of serving at the behest of Hezbollah chief.
“It is probable that Mikati is feeling powerful every time Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech,” the statement said, hours after Mikati accused the March 14 coalition of launching a “fierce campaign” against his new cabinet.
“Your condition is weird, Mikati. You stage a coup against yourself, your history and the voters that granted you a parliament seat but you copy the statements of Hezbollah and attack former PM Saad Hariri and March 14,” the statement added, in a reference to the former alliance between Mikati and Hariri and Mikati’s 2009 election on Hariri’s electoral ticket by the March 14 voters.
Earlier today Mikati accused the new opposition of carrying out a crime against the nation .
“Sabotaging the nation is a crime,” Mikati said in a statement. “It is the national responsibility of everyone to preserve civil peace and stability and not to sabotage or make fictitious heroic acts that stir tension.”
“ March 14 used again the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri to pour their anger and hatred on the cabinet,” the statement quoted him as saying.
March 14 leaders met on Sunday night at Le Bristol Hotel to launch the national opposition campaign which is aimed at bringing down Prime Minister Mikati’s cabinet unless the latter voices his adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 1757, which established the Special tribunal for Lebanon (STL).
The March 14 meeting comes after STL confirmed the indictments in the assassination of Lebanon’s former PM Hariri on Thursday. An STL delegation met with Lebanon’s state prosecutor Said Mirza on Thursday and handed him a copy of the Lebanon portion of the indictment and the arrest warrants. Two of the suspects Mustafa Badreddine and Salim Ayyash are reportedly senior members of the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah while the other two Hezbollah members Hassan Aneissy, also known as Hassan Issa, and Assad Sabra played a supporting role in the execution of the assassination.
Lebanon has 30 days to find and arrest the suspects but Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Saturday that the party would not cooperate with the tribunal.
“No Lebanese government will be able to carry out any arrests whether in 30 days, 30 years or even 300 years.”
“We reject the Special Tribunal for Lebanon along with each and every void accusation it issues, which to us is the equivalent of an attack against Hezbollah,” Nasrallah added in his hour-long speech.
Nasrallah admitted all the four suspects are Hezbollah members:
“The suspects named in the indictment are brothers who have an honorable history in resisting Israeli occupation.” He said
The whereabouts of the four Hezbollah suspects remain unknown but some reports indicated that the two prime suspects in the assassination already fled to Iran.
March 14 Secretariat
The March 14 General Secretariat issued also a statement on Monday firing back at Mikati over his earlier statement.
“The secretariat is not surprised by Mikati’s statement; what surprised us was his capacity to delude the public opinion as he did not comment on Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s Saturday speech against the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) ,” the March 14 statement said.
“Mikati tried to trick the people by making his cabinet look like it is keen on achieving justice through the STL,” which is probing former PM Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination, the statement added.
It also questioned the identity of “the real current Lebanese premier,” a reference to March 14 accusations that Mikati is serving at the behest of Hezbollah chief.
Phalange party bloc MP Sami Gemayel a key member of March 14 alliance said on Monday that his party will support bringing down the newly-formed cabinet if Prime Minister Najib Mikati does not vow to commit to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in Tuesday’s parliament session.
“It seems that Mikati does not have the will or the capacity to take into account the will of the Lebanese people in his cabinet’s Ministerial Statement, which is disregarding the bloodshed of martyrs,” Gemayel told OTV, in a reference to the ministerial statement clause that reportedly says that the cabinet will commit to the STL “in principle.”
“Our main condition to help Mikati form a national-unity government was to commit to the STL,” which is probing former PM Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination, the MP added.
Either with or against
March 14 MP Khaled al-Daher addressed Mikati on Monday saying “ one is either for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon or against it.”
He stressed that all March 14 wants from STL is to achieve justice and to deter future political assassinations .
Lebanon’s best interest
National Liberal Party (NLP) leader MP Dori Chamoun told Voice of Lebanon on Monday that March 14 parties are working for Lebanon’s best interest “and not against it.”
“We are appealing to the international and Arab communities. We are not working against Lebanon but for its interest ” he said
The NLP leader also said that all what March 14 parties are asking for is justice and adhering to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), as well as solving the non-state arms matter. In reference to Hezbollah arms
He added that his coalition is trying to make it clear to Mikati that “he is going to reach a dead-end.”
Former tourism minister MP Elie Marouni , another member of the Phalange bloc said on Monday that the cabinet “formed by Hezbollah should step down.”
Marouni told Future TV that “ Hezbollah chief has the right to defend his party, but it should take place inside the tribunal.”
“Nasrallah repeated his stance toward the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), yet he damaged the state’s institutions,” Marouni added.
Marouni also said that Interior Minister Marwan Charbel should brief the MPs over his work to implement the arrest warrants issued by the STL.
Photo: Former PM Saad Hariri ( C) with PM Nagib Mikati ( L) and Minister Mohammad Safadi (R) during the 2009 election campaign. Both Mikati and Safadi won their parliamentary seats on March 14’s electoral list but defected to the Hezbollah-led camp last January . Hezbollah named Mikati as its PM candidate after bringing down Hariri’s cabinet