Sleiman says Dialogue must be unconditional


President Michel Sleiman reiterated Saturday the need for rival Lebanese parties to participate in National Dialogue, adding that the talks should be unconditional and continuous.

Sleiman also received a letter from U.S. President Barack Obama congratulating him on Lebanon’s Independence Day.

“Dialogue should be unconditional and not just temporary,” said Sleiman, according to a statement from his press office.

The March 14 alliance has boycotted government as well as National Dialogue sessions that Sleiman relaunched mid this year.

The opposition group took the step after the recent assassination of a top security chief in a Beirut car bombing. They insist that a neutral salvation Cabinet be formed to replace Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government to oversee the upcoming elections.

A dialogue session was originally scheduled on Nov. 12, but media reports said it had been delayed until Nov. 29 to allow time for consultations after the opposition March 14 coalition demanded the government’s resignation first as a condition for attending any talks with the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance.

Members of the March 8 coalition, including Hezbollah, have urged their rivals to end their boycott and return to the all-party talks, which Sleiman relaunched mid this year to discuss a national defense strategy and the divisive issue of Hezbollah’s weapons.

In early November, Sleiman told a Cabinet meeting that the doors were still open for the formation of a national unity government.

MP Fouad Siniora, the head of the Future parliamentary bloc, reiterated Saturday the call for the formation of a neutral salvation cabinet that would supervise the 2013 parliamentary elections.

According to a statement from his office, Siniora also said the present government was responsible for the deteriorating situation in the country.

“The current Cabinet is responsible for the deteriorating situation in the country and thus it must step down,” said Siniora, according to the statement.

According to Sleiman’s office, the president also received Saturday a letter from Obama, congratulating him on the occasion of Lebanon’s Independence Day which falls on Nov. 22.

In the letter, Obama hailed Sleiman’s efforts to support the country’s sovereignty and stability, the statement said


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