In the Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, The Lord of the world. Peace be on the Seal of prophets, our Master and Prophet, Abi Al Qassem Mohammad and on his chaste and pure Household, chosen companions and all prophets and messengers. Peace be upon you all and Allah's mercy and blessing.
It was necessary to address you with this direct speech on the light of the political developments that took place to present for you anew how we comprehend and what we see and believe things might move towards.
I have two topics.
The first topic has to do with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the indictment. The second topic pertains to the political developments and the governmental issue in Lebanon.
As for the first topic, as it was said and as I told you in my latest speech, Bellemare issued on Monday the indictment which remained secret. That was announced. We then said that the timing was also part of all the politicized steps of the so called STL. The issuance coincided with the binding parliamentary consultations to name a Premier. However, later these consultations were postponed till tomorrow.
It used to be said that Pre-trial Judge Fransen would need at least six to ten weeks to read and carefully examine the content of the draft presented to him by General Prosecutor Bellemare. However, we noticed that on the light of the political developments and contacts that used to take place in Lebanon during the past few days that the issuance of the indictment was moving imminently and hastily. Setting February 7th as a date comes in this framework because more investment of the public hearing is even needed. They need to invest it politically to practice pressure on us and to pressure on our allies to offer a service to definite and specific political options.
What's new also in this framework as we have seen in media outlets - as I do not have special information besides what have been said in media outlets - is that perhaps it's the first time that Mr. Bellemare threatens some media outlets because they broadcast things that have to do with the international investigation. It goes without saying that he means "Al Jadeed" TV. What is noticeable here and necessitates that we all pose at is that years have passed during which the details of the international investigation were leaked to the press, magazines and TV outlets the last of which was the Canadian TV Channel (CBC) which is of the same nationality as Bellemare and still Bellemare remained silent. Why? It's simply because all the previous leakages were serving the purpose of targeting Hizbullah, Syria and this party. That is why he used to overlook these leakages. It's because they serve that political project.
What's new in what took place is that the audio broadcast recently are seen as touching on the other party and the authenticity of the investigation. I believe that every person who had heard these audio broadcasts might have had an idea. We see that Mr. Bellemare's concern over the investigation and the STL and the secrecy of the investigation has been moved all of a sudden. This asserts anew and in addition to all the previous evidences that this tribunal in its general conduct and detailed performance targets a definite political party and it does not search for the truth or for justice.
Anyway, I will not say more on the first topic.
I will only say we will wait. We have started responding to the indictment which content we have come to know even if it was not announced yet. The initial response was toppling the government which was unable to protect Lebanon and to confront the repercussions of this indictment... as I have made clear in my previous speech. However, I will in principle keep the rest of my word on the tribunal, the indictment and the general prosecutor until the indictment is made public - unless anything new took place. Then we will say our final, decisive and detailed word in this framework.
However I would like to wrap up the first topic saying: If you want to employ this particular stage - i.e. the post-Bellemare and pre-Fransen stage - It was said that yes this stage might be exploited. Fransen might reconsider, turndown, postpone or thwart the indictment - to practice pressure on us to serve your political options, here I am telling you: Following the issuance of the covert overt indictment we will not submit to the political options imposed on us. This is over. This is what we mean by before and after the issuance of the indictment. Thus be at ease. You want to issue, announce, postpone or need more time to closely study this indictment; this issue is over for us. It is no more debatable, negotiable, or subject to offering more concessions or for searching for ways out. This is your own business. However when the indictment is announced, we will have our word to say. This is as far as the first topic pertaining to the tribunal is concerned.
As for the second topic pertaining to the political developments in the country, I have several points to tackle.
As for the first point, we all heard the stance of the Head of the Progressive Socialist Party Mr. Walid Jumblat. First, I would like to thank him and the brethrens in the leadership of the Progressive Socialist Party on the clear and decisive stance taken by the Party with Syria and the Resistance especially in this critical, sensitive and very important moment in the history of Lebanon and the magnitude of targets threatening Lebanon and the region.
We highly appreciate Mr. Walid Jumblat and the leadership of the Socialist Progressive Party and together we found on it a new political era of relations, understanding and coordination to confront all the challenges of the upcoming stage.
The second point - and also to avoid any misunderstanding or illusion - we in the Opposition, in case the candidate who is backed by the Opposition and the Opposition deputies to head the government is charged of forming the government, we demand the designate premier - if he is the one backed by the Opposition - to form a national participation government. We demand on him to form a government in which all parties participate. We do not call for a uniform government. We do not call for monopoly or for neglecting any party in the country. We respect all parties' representation. We differ on the issue of the head of the government and the personality that might fill this critical and very important position in the Lebanese state structure. Still that does not mean at all that anyone in the Opposition thinks of transcending or annulling any representation or party.
The new government must be a cooperative government that must not work at annulling anyone or act with spitefulness. At least this is our view point, and we know that through my contacts and relations with the other leaderships in the Opposition.
In this framework also, let me talk frankly and directly because some claim and threaten that should the new government be headed by the candidate nominated by the Opposition - after all he will be one of the important Sunnite figures in the country - that will harm the power, privileges and advantages of the kind Sunnite sect within the structure of the government and the state. Well this is mere falsehood. This is not true at all. All of us in the Opposition will be very cautious in this perspective and the track of events - if the figure nominated by the Opposition is charged to form the government - will God willing prove all these meanings and not oral and literal promises.
The third point: In the past few days and especially yesterday, we started hearing here and there, on platforms and in some press conferences, some libels which no one may remain silent on. I find it strange that some remain silent on such libels against PM Omar Karameh. Unfortunately, some of the libeling comes from the killer or the person whom the Lebanese justice system had charged with killing martyr PM Rashid Karameh.
I will not repeat these libels because I do not allow my tongue to use such phrases that were pointed at this great national house. Allow me to say my response in some words.
First, I say that the house of PM Omar Karameh, the person of PM Omar Karameh and the house of the Karameh family - as all of us in Lebanon know very well - is a national, honest, righteous house. You may search for corruption accusations in any other place but this house was never pointed at all through its history - neither at the time of martyr MP Rashid Karameh, nor at the time of PM Omar Karameh.
This house is known for its honesty, dignity and purity and any abuse of this kind is in fact an accusation against all of us as Lebanese. Second, there is another point. All of these campaigns were launched on the background that PM Karameh might be the candidate backed by the Opposition or might have the chance of being charged of forming the government. On this basis this endless campaign was launched. Here also I want to say that PM Karameh did not run for premiership. He did not also ask from anyone to nominate him for premiership. He did not contact anyone to nominate him for premiership. He did not form a machinery or a local or regional political party to gain premiership. He did not knock anyone's door. He did not threaten anyone if he did not gain premiership. You all know these facts and these issues.
He did not make any contact on the national, regional or international level, whereas the other camp's contacts and movements took place internationally and regionally around the clock to impose or push a definite candidate.
Yes, in the past few days, when we in the Opposition were discussing who would be nominated by the Opposition deputies for premiership, I contacted PM Karameh and sat with him. It was my moral duty to tell him that we need your approval if things passed towards winning and gaining the majority needed for premiership.
If he was seeking this post he would have thought this is a golden exceptional opportunity and accept and even helped and worked industriously day and night. The mere exact truth is: PM Karameh said I appreciate your confidence and the confidence of the Opposition and the confidence of all the brethrens in this perspective. However you know that I am old aged and my health is as you may notice. The stage is critical and sensitive. It needs time, effort, vitality and energy.
I would rather that you search for another choice which might be better for this country. However, if there was no other choice, and I had and it was my duty as there is no other choice to protect the country and the Resistance - which he highly praised as he says in media outlets - I and despite my advanced age, despite my health and special conditions, will accept to assume the responsibility. However, I hope you will find another choice.
Still we said that is great. We will stay in contact to see the course of things and the vote. Is it possible that we gain the majority or the like? Indeed, we will listen to your remarks and I will convey your demand to the brethrens. We will remain searching for another choice but for us, you remain our first choice. This was the response of PM Omar Karameh. He went back home. He did not take any action despite being certain that this is the inert inclination of the Opposition. He did not contact anyone. He did not inquire or ask for an inclination. He just left things to take their natural course.
Here in fact I tell all those who issued libels in the past few days: You are before a type of men who must be appreciated from an Islamic perspective on the level of Muslims in Lebanon and must be appreciated from a national perspective because he is both honest, ascetic and prideful from one point and from another perspective he is courageous and determined. We sense his honesty and asceticism when we contacted him saying we want you to be the head of the government, and he says I do not want that. Please search for another choice. Well where are the courage and the determination sensed? They are sensed when he says that if it is conditional that I be the premier to protect the country and the Resistance and what it offered and achieved, I am ready. I am aware of the local, regional and international circumstances we are heading towards. Still I am ready to assume the responsibility. This is absolute courage, manhood and gallantry for an old aged man like PM Karameh.
Thus we always highly esteem the stances of great men. In this framework, we are still consulting, contacting and exchanging views on the level of parliamentary blocs in the Opposition and the Opposition leaderships. I believe that within the coming few hours we might head towards decisively settling the issues in case the date of consultations was fixed tomorrow and no changes took place.
The fourth point which I would like to tackle is political assassination which the caretaker PM Hariri had raised. He was talking about political assassination at a time he was talking about constitutional institutions and resorting to constitutional institutions and the democratic game.
Here I would like to say the following:
First: In Lebanon, very great leading figures from the Sunnite sect had always occupied the post of premiership. A premier might come, stay for six months or a year or two and then he would leave and another premier comes and then goes. The first might return or a third figure might come. So we have a club of former premiers who are great and well known figures. It never happened before - and I do not claim wide knowledge in this domain - that elections or a democratic step within institutions when premiership is with one person and goes to another that this is tantamount to political assassination for the first. In fact, when we talk about a democratic game, this is unprecedented.
Second: You talk about resorting to the Constitution, institutions and to the democratic game. Well, in a democratic game, no one can oblige parliamentary blocs to name a single candidate and to unanimously agree on him.
This applies in all councils and parliaments all around the world. Some parliamentary blocs name a candidate, and other parliamentary blocs name another. Are these blocs assassinating the others' candidate or vice versa? These are a new language and a new culture that are being inserted to the political game in Lebanon. Parliamentary blocs have the right to reject a definite figure apart from his representation, because the post of premiership is not a representative position. In the first place, it is a leading post which needs definite characteristics such as presence and efficacy. The head of the executive power in Lebanon is the premier. If there are parliamentary blocs who have a definite evaluation for the performance of this or that personality - on the basis of experience, direct knowledge and facts - so why if they refused the return of so or so to the post of premiership that would be considered political assassination or targeting or a challenge for the size of representation.
Anyway, in such circumstances, I consider referring to not naming PM Saad Hariri and labeling that as political assassination is a kind of intimidation to the Opposition camp. I also would like to point to another issue. They talk about political assassination of a person. But what is taking place, had been taking place and is taking place with international and regional connivance? There is political assassination to a resistance movement which is one of the most honorable and most important resistance movements in the region. It is one of the noble resistance movements that has defended, fought, offered sacrifices and the dearest martyrs, liberated Lebanon from the "Israeli" occupation and is protecting Lebanon today. Lebanon is not protected by America, the west, the International Security Council or anyone else.
What protects Lebanon today is the Resistance - Army - People formula through a balance of deterrence acknowledged by Israel day after day. Isn't what is happening today a political assassination of a noble and honest resistance movement for the interest of the "Israeli" enemy? There are people who can prevent this political assassination but still do not take any action. On the contrary, they push things forward and make haste to complete the political assassination of the Resistance which as a result of its strength, steadfastness, courage and the embracement of all the noble in Lebanon and in the Arab and Islamic nation, will not be assassinated God willing.
We are not to cancel, annul or neglect anyone, but we reiterate what you've been saying: There will be consultations. There are constitutional institutions. We have practiced our constitutional right to resign from the cabinet and to topple the government. Consequently, no one is seeking to annul or assassinate anyone. We have to cooperate to overpass this critical stage in Lebanon. Lebanon is being targeted. The "Israelis" are waylaying. They have been dreaming of this moment, counting on it and signaling to it cheerfully for at least several months or one year or two.
The last point - as I do not want to take much of your time - has to do with the regional and international stances. We have heard during the past days governments and states saying that they respect Lebanese legitimacy. This is great. They respect the will of the majority of the Lebanese. That's great. They respect the Lebanese constitutional institutions. This is great.
However the question which answers we will hear in the coming few days and we have been hearing its answers already is that suppose the parliamentary consultations which will take place Monday and Tuesday elected a new majority. Suppose that and I am one of the objective and realistic people. I also have some reservations on some of the speeches delivered by some of our brethrens in the Opposition who talk about things as if they are over and for granted. No, during these days we had been exerting continuous political effort around the clock to reach a reasonable outcome. Let no one deal with things negatively or positively. Things are not over whether negatively or positively. You know especially during the past days that not a world capital did not work day and night and intervene in what is taking place in Lebanon as far as the parliamentary consultations are concerned and support a definite candidate.
Let's suppose that consultations on Monday and Tuesday ended in the nomination of a candidate other than PM Saad Hariri. Here I am saying the name frankly. Then it would be revealed that there is a new majority in the Lebanon - even if it is a humble majority. Will we still hear from all who talked in the past few days about respecting the Lebanese legitimacy and the will of the Lebanese majority and the constitutional institutions the same logic or will we hear something else?
Here I am telling you: For sure we will hear something else and we have started hearing that when they started talking about the risks which Lebanon is facing, bullying us with Israel and talking about the division of the country. What is this speech? What division they talk about for the country? Will Lebanon be divided? Who will divide Lebanon? We started hearing a new language starting with "Israel" and you will start hearing it in other Arab and international capitals. They talk about the Iranian project, the Persian project, the Shiite project, the government led by Hizbullah among much more flagrant sectarian instigative language. Does that express the respect of the Lebanese legitimacy and the will of the majority? What if the Lebanese majority moved in that direction?
Anyway, I am telling you that all the allegations that we have started hearing on a Persian project, an Iranian project, a Shiite project, the government led by Hizbullah... are mere falsification, misleading and distortion. The whole battle against us has been based on falsification, instigation and misleading since the launch of the resistance until reaching the international tribunal and the current political battle. We have always been saying that we do not seek authority. We do not seek posts. We have our priority which is the resistance. We also care for the national status.
Anyway, I do not want to defend or clarify. I only want to say that in case the candidate backed by the Opposition was nominated, I hope that the world would respect the constitutional institutions, the Lebanese legitimacy and the Lebanese majority, and that the designate premier be given a chance to form a government. Then you will see through forming the government and the government's performance whether it would be a true national government which takes into consideration the Lebanese interests and works for the interest of the Lebanese people or does as they claim and say? Days, events, experiences and practicality will be the arbitrator between you and us, if you truly care for Lebanon.
However, if there is a prior stance which says that the fate of Lebanon depends on one person - so if PM Saad Hariri was not nominated - then it will be a disaster for the whole world, the west, the Arabs and Muslims. The truth is not as such. But what if this is not what is being worked at? What if they are working on that it is not known where Lebanon is heading to or where it will reach, that indeed would be a catastrophe. If the fate, dignity, institutions, stability, salvation and rescue of a country- no matter how small or big it is - is linked to the occupation of a definite person the premiership post without giving way for another personality which has the competence and the capability, this is tantamount to a national catastrophe. This belittles the nation and the Lebanese people. It is scornful to the nation and the Lebanese people when it is said for all of us that the fate of the country depends on the premiership of a definite person apart from his competency and capability which we differ on evaluating.
This is a resume for the developments. I talked in a quick pace not to take more time. Anyway and as far as I know the binding parliamentary consultations are still set for Monday and Tuesday. As a matter of course we will undergo parliamentary consultations. I believe that tonight we might reach a final agreement on whom the Opposition will nominate or back. I hope things will move in an appropriate way God willing. I hope Allah Al Mighty guides the Lebanese people and all the political leaderships in Lebanon in choosing what is good for this country and its future and fate and to act in a way that goes with the magnitude of the challenges and threats that we are confronting in this country. Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.