President Michel Suleiman rejected claims that the government is comprised of a single political camp, noting that the disputes among its members demonstrate his point.
He told the daily al-Mustaqbal in remarks published on Sunday: “Whenever cabinet votes on a decision, a minister is obligated to approve it.”
“If he refuses, then he should present a valid excuse otherwise he must resign,” he said in reference to the ongoing dispute over the transportation allowance over Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas’ refusal to approve the government’s agreement on the matter.
The dispute has created tensions between Nahhas’ Free Patriotic Movement, Suleiman, and the premiership, with the movement’s leader MP Michel Aoun accusing the president and Prime Minister Najib Miqati of working against the FPM ministers.
Suleiman stressed to the daily that no one can attack the presidency, saying that whoever does so “will be harmed.”
“It seems that we are not accustomed to working together … and I believe that we will gradually remember how to practice real democracy,” he continued.
“Democracy is not strictly about elections, but it teaches us how to sacrifice our personal opinions for better ones and how to accept the other for the sake of the nation,” explained the president.
“Our political system must be fortified,” he said.
Regarding his call for resuming the national dialogue, he remarked: “I urged all sides to resume the talks in order to reach an agreement over a defense strategy.”
“We need to find ways in which the resistance’s weapons can be used to defend Lebanon and the defense strategy would help us determine when, how, and why they arms would be used,” he continued.
“Weapons throughout Lebanon that are not part of this strategy need to be removed,” Suleiman stressed.
“These issues should be discussed at the national dialogue among other matters that the gatherers would suggest,” he said.
The March 14 camp has said that it would resume the national dialogue on condition that Hizbullah’s arms be the only topic of discussion, while party chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stated earlier this week that he would return to the national dialogue as long as no conditions are placed over it.
The party had repeatedly refused to discuss its possession of arms.
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