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raad mohammad hezbollah def
MP Mohammad Raad who heads up Hezbollah’s parliamentary group said on Sunday that his party was unwilling to discuss the ministerial statement before the formation of a government.

His statement is in response to March 14 alliance’s demands for an agreement on a statement that does not legitimize Hezbollah’s arms.

“We will not discuss the ministerial statement now. We have convictions that cannot be shaken,” the Hezbollah MP said adding that the discussions on the issue should take place after the government formation

“ The March 14 alliance can emphasize its convictions and make suggestions during the ministerial statement discussions following the formation of a government ,” he said.

March 14 alliance parties have insisted they would not join a cabinet unless its ministerial statement deletes the controversial formula of Lebanese army, people and resistance which was adopted by past governments to legitimize Hezbollah’s arsenal.

However, Speaker Nabih Berri a close ally of Hezbollah has said that he refuses to compromise on the formula, while other March 8 figures have called for the ministerial statement to be discussed after the cabinet is formed.

New momentum

The formation of a new Lebanese cabinet gained momentum following the announcement of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in which he declared that he is now ready to share power with his rivals Hezbollah if that’s what it takes to help Lebanon finally form a government after nine months of political deadlock.

Linking up with the Shiite Hezbollah militant group presents a personal challenge for the son of former premier Rafik al-Hariri, whose 2005 car bomb assassination was widely blamed on Hezbollah, which denies the allegation.

Hariri told Reuters in The Hague , where he was attending the trial in absentia of four Hezbollah members charged with his father’s killing, that he’s not only ready to share power with Hezbollah but is optimistic they can come to an agreement.

“We’re trying to run the country with everyone, because we do not want to keep anyone outside,” he said in an interview late on Thursday after attending the opening session of the Special Tribunal For Lebanon.

“Lebanon is having a difficult time, especially since the international community has failed miserably to do anything for Syria,” he said. “I think it is our duty towards the people of Lebanon to stabilize the country … I am very optimistic.”

Asked why he was willing to work with a group accused of playing a role in his father’s killing, he said he was committed to the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”.

Raad remarks could again hinder the formation of a new cabinet according to observers .

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