Lebanese Prime Minster Tammam Salam said he would resign within a day if no solution is found for the deadlock facing the country's new cabinet on a suitable solution for including the term “resistance” in their official 'ministerial statement,' Lebanese media reported.
The ministerial statement is a statement outlining the government's formation and agenda. Hezbollah is demanding it include resistance to Israel as a formal clause but refuse to place responsibility for said resistance in the hands of the state.
Now things are heating up and are threatening to get out of hand, as the prime minister threatents to quit if the issue is not resolved and even Syrian President Bashar Assad is weighing in on the matter.
Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar quoted a Lebanese ministerial source as saying that Friday would see “either a ministerial statement or a statement of resignation," by Prime Minister Tammam.
Ironically the issue currently plaguing the talks is not an attempt to block resistance from the document – which both sides agree should have a place in the statement – but rather the state's role in resistance to Israel.
While the March 14 bloc was willing to accept a formulation according to which “The cabinet affirms the state’s duty and the right of its citizens to resistance against Israeli aggressions,” Hezbollah refused.
In the debate Hezbollah’s ministers – part of the March 7 bloc – refused to “any binding of the resistance to the state,” An Nahar reported.
Druze MP Walid Jumblatt also said that the ministerial statement must acknowledge the Lebanese people's right to resist against Israel, Al Akhbar reported.
"In all the countries of the world, the people resist whenever there is an invasion of their country's territories," Jumblatt said, adding that "In Lebanon we are disagreeing on this matter. Who must resist? Is it Lebanon or the Lebanese people? It is normal that the people resist."
Syrian President Assad also commented on the matter, As-Safir reported, quoting him as saying the most important quality in the next Lebanese president is the level of “resistance” he is able to demonstrate.
“We are waiting to see what he will be able to grant (as far as) resistance (is concerned,) which is a fundamental criterion for us, afterwards let he who comes come. That is an internal Lebanese affair.”
Omer Benjakob contributed to this report