Lebanon's Hezbollah-led cabinet meet to draft its policy statement

Arab World Materials 15 June 2011 16:30 (UTC +04:00)
Lebanon's Hezbollah-led cabinet meet to draft its policy statement
Lebanon's Hezbollah-led cabinet meet to draft its policy statement

Lebanon's newly-formed Hezbollah-dominated held its first meeting Wednesday to start drafting its policy statement, dpa reported

The statement is expected to outline the government's position on thorny issues that has divided the Lebanese political arena for months, such as Hezbollah's weapons arsenal and the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is investigating the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri.

The statement will also tackle Lebanon's shaky relations with neighbouring Syria, and also the country's obligations to the international community such as UN Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 between Hezbollah and Israel.

Resolution 1701 calls on the Lebanese government to disarm all militant groups, including Hezbollah.

"A committee was formed to start drafting the policy statement on major issues which caused controversy in the country," a source close to Premier Nagib Mikati told the German Press Agency dpa.

The cabinet convened with 29 members, after Druze lawmaker Talal Arslan, who is close to Hezbollah, resigned on Monday to protest the ministry he was given in the new cabinet line-up. Arslan, was named a state minister, which is only a title and not a key portfolio.

Lebanon's new government was formed on Monday after almost five months of political vacuum. It comprised mainly of members of the Hezbollah-led coalition, with some independent members nominated by President Michel Suleiman and Mikati.

The March 14 Alliance, headed by former premier Saad Hariri, had decided not to join the government led by a Hezbollah-endorsed prime minister. Hariri's Future parliamentary bloc criticized what they described as a one-sided government but said their opposition "will be peaceful and democratic."

The bloc said in a statement that Mikati "missed the opportunity to form a cabinet of independent professionals and chose to serve Hezbollah." The cabinet was based on "political imbalance."

The Hezbollah-led coalition on January 12 brought down Hariri's government after a long-running dispute over the UN tribunal, which is expected to accuse some members of the Lebanese Shiite movement in the Hariri killing, a charge the group has denied