Naharnet

Hamadeh Snaps Back at Suleiman, Says 'Alternative' to Dialogue is Salvation Cabinet

Opposition MP Marwan Hamadeh said Wednesday the formation of a salvation government is the first of three conditions set by the March 14 alliance to return to the national dialogue table.

President Michel Suleiman “knows what's the alternative to the resumption of dialogue,” Hamadeh told Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5).

“The first lies in forming a neutral cabinet that salvages the country from its crisis, the second is to abide by the Baabda Declaration that was violated by the other party (March 8) and the third is to hand over the suspects in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's assassination,” the lawmaker stated.

His remark came a day after Suleiman urged the different parties to return to the all-party talks.

“If they (the opposition) refuse, then they should offer alternatives,” the president suggested.

The pan-Arab daily al-Hayat reported on Sunday that Suleiman has voiced his disappointment with the failure of his initiatives that are aimed at persuading the various rival political parties to return to the national dialogue.

It quoted his visitors as saying that he will likely propose alternate initiatives to lure the opposition back to the all-party talks.

The March 14 alliance announced its boycott of the dialogue and government related activities after it blamed the cabinet for the Oct. 19 assassination of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau head Brigadier General Wissam al-Hasan.

The coalition also accused the Hizbullah-led March 8 majority alliance of violating the Baabda Declaration, which calls for keeping Lebanon away from the policy of regional and international conflicts, after sending an Iranian built drone to Israel on Oct. 6.

In the Baabda Declaration, rival leaders agreed to continue studying ways to implement decisions agreed upon at previous dialogue sessions, including commitment to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon which is set to try Hariri's suspected assassins.

In June last year, the court issued warrants for Hizbullah members Mustafa Badreddine, Salim Ayyash, Hussein Oneissi, and Assad Sabra, and Interpol has also issued a "red notice" for the suspects.

But none of them have been arrested.


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