Salam Hopes for Election of President, Says Differences Lie on Internal Use of Resistance Arms

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Prime Minister Tammam Salam hoped that the parliament would elect a new president on Wednesday and stressed that the differences between the rival parties were not on the concept of resistance but on the use of its arms in Lebanon.

In an interview with Sky News Arabia, Salam said: “Nothing prevents an agreement on the name of the president if the political parties had the intention and will.”

“The president could be elected by simple majority,” he said although he did not rule out any other scenario.

Parliament is scheduled to convene on Wednesday to elect a new president. Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea is the sole politician who has officially announced his candidacy.

Salam denied there was foreign intervention in the election process as with former presidents. But he said: “With no doubt there was some foreign influence.”

“This is not something new,” he told his interviewer.

Asked about Hizbullah, Salam said: “We need the resistance as long as there is occupied land.”

“The differences are not on the concept of resistance but on the use of the resistance’s arms internally,” the premier stated.

“This raises the question: Where is the state? And where is the decision of war and peace?”

“This decision should be in the hands of the state and the resistance should know that … the state is the (sole) authority,” Salam said.

The prime minister stressed that his “cabinet does not run a crisis but runs a country.”

“The security achievement was the result of consensus between the political parties,” he said, adding: “Without it there would not have been any possibility to cut the road to outlaws.”

The authorities are implementing a security plan in the northern city of Tripoli and the eastern Bekaa Valley, which has so far led to the arrest of dozens of criminals.

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