Lebanon cabinet survives no confidence vote


The Lebanese government survived late Thursday a parliamentary vote of no confidence, amid a walkout by most  MPs of the March 14 group and the presence of the Phalange party parliamentary bloc, the Annahar daily reported.

The vote of no confidence was requested by Phalange MP Sami Gemayel, who withheld confidence in the Lebanese government along with two other lawmakers from his bloc.

Following three days of heated parliamentary debate over its policies, Prime Minister Najib Mikati said his cabinet “will rise above all the non-constructive remarks, especially personal insults.”

Defending his government’s policy of distancing Lebanon from the crisis in Syria, he said the policy of disassociation ” prevented further divides. Has anyone wondered how Lebanon’s situation would have been, had the government sided with a certain camp? What about the repercussions of such a stance on economy and security?”

Mikati said the international community had lauded Lebanon’s policy on Syria “as some domestic parties were still questioning this stance.”

Playing down the extent of disputes within the cabinet, the premier stressed that “I have said that I place all my confidence in the ministers and I have not doubted any of them.”

“We will continue to perform our duty towards the Syrian refugees (taking shelter in Lebanon), and this is not a favor but rather a duty, until the situation settles down in Syria,” he added.

“The responsibility to protect the border with Syria falls on Lebanon, and Lebanon will not be a path to harm any country and its people and it will be keen on safeguarding its sovereignty,” he said, responding to criticism from the opposition that the government turned a blind eye to the deadly Syrian incursions and shootings into Lebanon.

“Nothing can protect the domestic arena from threats except cooperation between the majority and the opposition,” Mikati noted.