Suleiman Reiterates Insistence on Baabda Declaration, Slams Those Seeking 'Constituent Assembly'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Former President Michel Suleiman on Thursday stressed keenness on the Baabda Declaration that he brokered in 2012, as he criticized Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun's latest presidential proposals.
“The Taef Accord ended the wars of others on Lebanon's soil and the Baabda Declaration was aimed at preventing war among the Lebanese on the soil of others,” said Suleiman in a televised speech marking one year since the presidential vacuum started.
The address was delivered after a meeting for the Republic Gathering, which Suleiman heads. The gathering comprises Suleiman's ministers in Tammam Salam's cabinet – Samir Moqbel, Alice Shabtini and Abdul Mutalleb Hennawi – Deputy Speaker Farid Makari, a number of ex-ministers, and several political, economic, academic, civil society and media figures.
Suleiman called on all political forces to “abide by the Baabda Declaration to preserve the state's sovereignty across all Lebanese regions.”
On Wednesday, Hizbullah's top lawmaker Mohammed Raad dismissed the Baabda Declaration as “merely a transcript of a (national dialogue) session.”
“We don't want to exhume the dead from the graves,” Raad answered when asked about the declaration during a TV interview. In 2013, Raad, who attended the 2012 dialogue session, said the Baabda Declaration was “born dead”, accusing the rival March 14 camp of smuggling “arms and fighters” into war-torn Syria.
Hizbullah has openly sent elite fighters across the border to aid the Syrian regime in the face of an Islamist-led uprising. The Baabda Declaration calls for dissociating Lebanon from the regional crises, especially the conflict in Syria.
Separately, Suleiman called on the lawmakers who are boycotting voting sessions to head to parliament and elect a new president, warning that “it is unacceptable to jeopardize the fate of the country.”
“The Taef Accord and the Constitution must be immunized, and this begins with the election of a new president, instead of promoting the idea of a so-called constituent assembly,” the ex-president added.
He also slammed “any form of partitioning” or “constitutional heresies,” in an apparent jab at MP Michel Aoun.
On Friday, Aoun blamed the current political crisis on “the limitation of the presidential powers” after the Taef Accord and “the lack of participation by all the Lebanese factions” in the country's political life.
He called for choosing one of four solutions: a two-phased election of the president by the people, a popular referendum that is binding for parliament, a parliamentary vote for the “two most representative Maronite MPs”, or holding parliamentary polls based on a new and balanced electoral law before organizing the presidential vote.
As for the work of Salam's cabinet, Suleiman warned against “paralyzing the government” or “any attempt to topple it.”