08/02/2008, 00.00
Send to a friend

Government policy statement passed in Beirut, but problems remain

by Paul Dakiki
A solution has not yet been found to the fundamental question of regulating "the right" of Hezbollah to liberate the national territory still in the hands of the Israelis. On Tuesday, the "historic" visit to Damascus by President Suleiman.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - Yesterday evening, at the 14th meeting of its kind, an agreement on a draft policy statement for the new national unity government was reached. But some fundamental problems remain unsolved, dividing the parliamentary majority and opposition, beginning with the "right" of Hezbollah to use force to recover the parts of national territory still under Israeli control.

On the procedural level, today the text drafted by the commission will be put to the cabinet ministers, who will have to make their considerations - and probably their reservations - known by Monday. The "declaration" will then be submitted for parliamentary approval.

Yesterday evening, illustrating the conclusion of the work of drafting the text, information minister Tareq Mitri spoke of the "principle of state unity" as the authority that guides the decisions of the government and of an agreement reached by examining each chapter individually.

It is a "unity" that was immediately divided in the affirmation of the "right of Lebanon, its people, army and resistance to liberate or reclaim its land". Now, keeping in mind that "resistance" means Hezbollah, and that so far all of the attempts to affirm the exclusivity or superiority of the national army over the Shiite movement in the matter of reclaiming territory have been rejected, the concept of "unity" appears all the more weak.

It is precisely the lack of reference to the fact that political activities must be carried out "in the context of the state" that is at the origin of the reservations already expressed by minister Nassib Lahoud.

What will happen with Hezbollah's weapons is the main unresolved question, but not the only one. Others include that of the Lebanese expatriates in Israel, or the prisoners in Syria, or the "stabilization" of the Palestinians.

A development in another delicate topic, that of relations with Syria, will be seen on Tuesday, with the visit to Damascus by the president of the republic, Michel Suleiman. Yesterday, on a day dedicated to recognizing the army, the president called upon the military to "not hesitate to curb violators no matter what their affiliations are". "Isn't it a duty", he asked, "to confront anyone who shoots at his compatriot?"

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Hamas and Fatah agree to national unity government
National mourning in Beirut as Arab League rejects Syria’s demands
Right wing and with a narrow majority: Prime Minister Netanyahu’s new Israeli government
Israeli elections: rain, uncertainty, fears of Palestinians
National unity government formed in Beirut