Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea refuses to participate in a new cabinet based on “the formula People-Army-Resistance’ and insisted that the only political phrase that should be included in the ministerial statement is the Baabda Declaration.
“The formula ‘People-Army-Resistance’ is out of the question and the only political section that should be included in the ministerial statement is the Baabda Declaration,” Geagea said during an interview with Future TV on Wednesday.
The term resistance refers to the iranian backed hezbollah militant group which is insisting that it should be part of lebanon’s official defense strategy.
“I have become more and more convinced of not taking part in the government after I heard the statement of Hezbollah MP] Ali Ammar regarding the ‘People-Army-Resistance’ formula in the ministerial statement.”
“My decision to participate in the government is linked to including the Baabda Declaration as the sole political section of the ministerial statement,” he stressed.
The Baabda Declaration was issued following a national dialogue in 2012, and was championed by President Michel Suleiman.
It states that Lebanon should distance itself from regional and international conflicts.
The LF leader further criticized Hezbollah, saying that it was not a trustworthy partner in the government.
“I am not obliged to suffer the consequences of Hezbollah’s acts when it doesn’t even ask for my opinion on anything. Would Hezbollah accept today to control the border to prevent the entry of takfiri groups? Of course not, because that will limit its movements.”
Geagea also lashed out at caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour who, earlier in the day, defended the intervention of Hezbollah in Syria during his speech at the Geneva II peace talks.
“His speech during the Geneva II meeting represented the point of view of Hezbollah.” Geagea said
He also warned that Hezbollah’s presence in Syria will keep on jeopardizing the security situation in Lebanon even if the opposing political parties agree on the formation of a new government.
“If an 8-8-8 cabinet is formed but Hezbollah continues fighting in Syria the security situation will remain the same.” Geagea said
Regarding the alleged dispute over the cabinet issue between the LF and its ally in the March 14 coalition, the Future Movement, Geagea said that his objection to the participation in a political government did not affect the close personal relationship with Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri.
“My personal relationship with Hariri is one thing and my political stance regarding the cabinet is another.”
“If I want to base my decision on my personal relationship, I would take part in the government, but if I want to think with my head, I wouldn’t.”
Turning to the presidential election issue, Geagea said that the March 14 coalition will agree on one candidate “who would stand a chance in the presidential battle.”
He, however, warned that if the March 14 political plan failed “Lebanon will cease to exist.”
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.
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 last Thursday after attending the opening session of the Special Tribunal For Lebanon.
However, the LF have voiced their refusal to join a government with Hezbollah.
“ March 14 is holding on to its two conditions: that Hezbollah withdraws its fighters from Syria and that the formula of the unity of the Lebanese people, army and resistance be replaced by the Baabda declaration in the ministerial statement” of a new cabinet”, according to sources
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