Suleiman Seeks to Highlight Common Points on Defense Strategyإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The latest consultations held between President Michel Suleiman and members of the national dialogue will likely lead to a second Baabda Declaration that is set to highlight what the March 8 forces and the opposition have in common on the country’s defense strategy, An Nahar daily reported Sunday.
The seventeen March 8 and 14 leaders are scheduled to meet at Baabda palace on Monday in the second round of all-party talks since their resumption on June 11 after a 19-month standstill. They are set to discuss the defense strategy and the proliferation of arms in Lebanese cities and towns.
In the first Baabda Declaration, the bickering leaders agreed on the need to control the Lebanese-Syrian border following a series of deadly incidents and rejected the formation of a buffer zone between the two countries.
The March 8 majority and March 14 opposition officials also agreed to back the Lebanese army as the guarantor of national unity. They further struck a deal to keep Lebanon away from the policy of regional and international conflicts.
But the defense strategy or Hizbullah’s arsenal is a source of contention between the two sides. March 8 sees it as necessary to confront the Israeli enemy while the opposition says that the party’s arms should be integrated in the state.
Since the last session was held on June 11, Suleiman launched secret consultations with the seventeen leaders to guarantee the success of the second dialogue.
Presidential sources told An Nahar that Suleiman worked with his teamwork on Saturday to prepare a draft declaration that would set the light on what both teams agree on the defense strategy.
His efforts come amid reports that the opposition would boycott the session if “the possession of arms outside the authority of the state” is not discussed.
Also Saturday, Suleiman discussed the preparations for the all-party talks with Premier Najib Miqati.