Lebanese cabinet approves policy statement that supports Hezbollah

Other News Materials 5 August 2008 02:21 (UTC +04:00)

Lebanon's new national unity government adopted a policy statement late Monday that recognized Hezbollah's right to use all possible means to liberate Israeli-occupied land, despite reservations by four Christian ministers, the dpa reported.

Information Minister Tarek Mitri said that the statement was adopted unanimously to safeguard "ministerial solidarity."

"The ministers who registered their reservations asked for adding the word under the auspices of the government in the part which talks about Lebanon, its government, people and resistance (Hezbollah) to use all means possible to regain Lebanese sovereignty over Shebaa Farms and nearby Israeli-held parts of Ghajjar village," said Metri.

Mitri said the reservations by the four ministers were only registered in the council's record book, and the policy statement was adopted as it is.

Nassib Lahoud, one of the Christian ministers who registered a reservation, said he suggested that Hezbollah add the phrase: "Under the wing of the government" to the clause that speaks about the "right of the Lebanese people, army and resistance to liberate the Israeli-occupied land."

The three other ministers, Tony Karam, Ibrahim Najjar and Elie Maroun, who are followers of Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and are close to the ruling majority, had voiced a position similar to Lahoud's.

"The Lebanese Forces will be reserved about any phrase which contradicts with its principles," Geagea said on Sunday, stressing, however, that such reservation will not lead to rejecting the policy statement.

Mitri said that President Michel Suleiman, who presided over the cabinet session at the Baabda presidential palace, said the policy statement reflects "unity and national will."