March 14: For a Neutral, Salvation Govt. that would Launch Dialogue on All Illegal Arms

The March 14 forces on Thursday called for forming a “neutral, salvation government,” revealing that they will “very soon submit an initiative” to President Michel Suleiman that is “aimed at confronting the attempt to ruin Lebanon.”

“The Syrian regime wants to destroy the temple over everyone's heads and it is depicting Lebanon as an incubator of terrorism,” said a statement recited by former premier Fouad Saniora following an emergency meeting for the March 14 forces at the Center House in downtown Beirut.

“If the state's resignation from its duties in 1975 had led to a war that lasted several years, it is today urged not repeat the bitter experience,” March 14 said.

“Today, the government is complicit because it did not dare to respond to the Syrian regime's claims at the U.N. and we laud the president of the republic for categorically denying the claims,” added the statement.

The March 14 forces stressed that the army is “the guarantee for civil peace,” stressing that they “will not let Lebanon descend into civil war.”

“We, Muslims and Christians, are full partners and do not want to live under the mercy of weapons,” they added.

The March 14 forces noted that “confronting the conspiracy of ruining Lebanon and the collapse of its state requires the resignation of the government and the formation of a government of civil peace, a neutral salvation government that would help the president relaunch dialogue over arms -- all arms -- implement the national dialogue table's resolutions and oversee free elections.”

They also called for the creation of a “national safety net by all the faithful and from all sects and regions in Lebanon and the diaspora in order to prevent civil war and build Lebanon's permanent peace.”

The March 14 forces warned that “the dangerous events the country has been witnessing indicate that the Syrian regime has taken the decision to blow up the state and reignite war.”

“March 14 cannot remain cross-handed, that's why it calls for forming a neutral salvation government in order to launch a national dialogue conference that would spare Lebanon the threat of collapse and disintegration.”

“We announce that we will very soon submit an initiative to the president aimed at confronting the attempt to ruin Lebanon, which will be based on: the adherence of the Lebanese to the state project, legitimate institutions, the Taef Accord and the Constitution; a salvation government; resuming dialogue over all weapons; stressing the role of the army as the institution which is the guarantee for national unity; and keeping Lebanon away from the policies of regional and international axes,” March 14 added.

March 14’s emergency meeting follows the weekend killing of two clerics at an army checkpoint in Akkar, a mainly Sunni Muslim region whose inhabitants are hostile to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The killings ignited street battles in the capital Beirut overnight Sunday-Monday that left two people dead and 18 wounded.

On Wednesday, multiple violent incidents took place in several areas of the capital, which officials said were non-political in nature.

They included a shootout in the Caracas neighborhood in west Beirut, which left two people dead and six police and army troops injured.

Late last week, the Qatari, Emirati, Bahraini and Kuwaiti authorities issued warnings against travel to Lebanon.

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