Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government will not revise the clause pertaining to Hezbollah’s weapons in its ministerial statement, informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
A ministerial committee assigned to draft the new cabinet’s policy statement began its work on Monday, amid expectations that its mission would be swift as the majority of files enjoy unanimity, including the item related to Hezbollah’s weapons and the conflict with Israel, which had sparked disputes in previous governments.
Sources familiar with the committee’s meetings told Asharq Al-Awsat that the clause on the resistance would not be changed, noting that a draft ministerial statement had been prepared by Mikati’s working team and was being discussed by the committee to draft the final version.
The “resistance clause”, which was adopted in 2005, referred to the “army, people and resistance” equation in the governments of 2008, 2009 and 2011. However, the governments of 2014, 2016, 2019 and 2020 agreed on replacing the above phrase with the following: “Emphasizing the right of Lebanese citizens to resist the Israeli occupation, repel its aggression and recover occupied lands.”
The new government held its first session on Monday, in the presence of President Michel Aoun.
In a speech on the occasion, Aoun said that the cabinet would work on the economic recovery plan and the reforms detailed in the French initiative.
He added that Mikati’s government would, along with other tasks, prepare to hold the parliamentary elections set for May 8, 2022, complete the ongoing investigations into the Beirut Port explosion and proceed with the anti-corruption plan, in particular kicking off the forensic audit.
Regarding the financial and economic situation, Aoun pointed to the development of a plan to restructure the banking sector and a recovery strategy to tackle the financial crisis, in addition to completing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Meanwhile, Information International issued a report showing that since the election of Aoun on Oct. 31, 2016, the country witnessed the formation of four governments, two abstentions by prime minister-designates and 696 days of ministerial vacuum.
Former Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s cabinet worked in a caretaker capacity for 366 days – the longest period in the history of Lebanese governments.