“We are either a state that respects international legitimacy or not. We will not allow the transformation of Lebanon from a respected democratic state to a rogue state.” March 14 MP Ammar Houri said Tuesday during the parliamentary session aimed at debating the ministerial policy statement of the newly formed cabinet.
He was referring to the international resolutions that Lebanon was committed to honor and implement including the resolution that deals with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ( STL) .
“Why do you want [former Prime Minister Rafik] Hariri’s blood to go in vain? Will you tell the Lebanese people that you will ‘in principle’ follow up on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon?”
Houri called on Tuesday for early parliamentary elections and said that he will not grant Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s cabinet his vote of confidence.
MP Fadi al-Aawar who was elected on Hezbollah’s electoral list in Metn region noted that the Lebanese have uncovered the truth in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rashid Karami and the head of the National Liberal Party Dany Shamoun, but justice was not achieved.
“The cabinet has presented a comprehensive statement,” he added.
Free Patriotic Movement MP Nehmatallah Abi Nasr noted that the new government encompasses a number of factions and several challenges are awaiting it to rectify the mistakes that have marred the Lebanese system since the Taef Accord.
“The current cabinet pledged in its policy statement to implement development in all regions and this is what the governments that followed the Taef, especially the Siniora and Hariri cabinets, failed to do,” he noted.
He granted Mikati’s government his vote of confidence.
Hezbollah MP Bilal Farhat stated that the government was formed after long debates, succeeding in overcoming international pressures that sought to impede its establishment.
“Despite the obstacles, the cabinet was formed through a complete Lebanese effort,” he stressed.
Syrian Social Nationalist Party MP Marwan Fares said : “There is evidence indicating that STL is politicized and serves the United States and Israel. ” He demanded that the government should withdraw the Lebanese judges from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and halt its funding.
“The STL was formed unduly and was not approved by former President Emile Lahoud,” Fares also said.
“We in the SSNP know that the Resistance is the path toward liberating Palestine. We stand by the Resistance and its arms,” he also said, adding that his party grants the new cabinet its vote of confidence.
March 14 MP Nabil De Freige said that he is convinced that Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s cabinet will not be “loyal” to Lebanon’s international commitments.
De Freige said that not abiding by international commitments may lead to economic sanctions against Lebanon. “Can Lebanon bea such sanctions?” he asked.
Mikati’s cabinet was not formed through democracy, the MP also said, asking: “Was the right man assigned to the right position in this cabinet?”
March 8 resigned from Saad Hariri’s cabinet and formed the current cabinet to put an end to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), he added.
“The expression ‘in principle’ in the ministerial statement shows March 8’s real intentions. This is why we say that what we are witnessing today raises suspicion and anxiety.”
March 14 MP Atef Majdalani questioned the credibility of the March 8 coalition, of which the cabinet is comprised.
“How can the MPs discuss the ministerial statement while the group dominating the government has lost its credibility, does not respect its commitments and has intimidated people with its weapons?” he asked
“The ministerial statement threatens, intimidates and warns against dealing with international justice,” Majdalani added.
The MP also said “our majority is generated from the people through democratic means , while your majority [March 8] is generated by the forceful use of your weapons against people.”
March 14 MP Hadi Hobeish said: “This government is against the international community and is going to exclude Lebanon from the Arab community .”
Hobeish asked Mikati about his intentions in replacing the expression “cooperating with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)” with the expression “following its work” in the ministerial statement.
He also questioned the security forces’ ability to preserve stability in the presence of non-state arms, in reference to the weapons of Hezbollah.
Hezbollah bloc MP Ali Ammar stressed on Tuesday that the Americans and Israelis are Lebanon’s only enemies, reassuring the March 14 camp that they are not considered as enemies of the March 8 camp.
“Since day one, the Resistance was subject to these enemies’ attempts to eliminate the weapons,” he remarked.
“While listening to all these speeches, I began to wonder, has Prime Minister Najib Mikati, the son of Tripoli, become a member of Hezbollah without my knowledge?” he asked in reference to March 14 MPs’ criticism of Mikati and the government policy statement.
Addressing MP Marwan Hamadeh, he said: “The July 2006 war was aimed at executing the Resistance, but it failed. It did not fall for the traps of strife that were set up for it.” He was referring to Hezbollah’s war with Israel
“Had the Resistance been destroyed, the STL would not have been formed, and an indictment would not have been issued,” he claimed and concluded his speech by granting the cabinet his vote of confidence.
Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned the parliamentary session on ministerial statement until 6 p.m.