Lebanon's PM vows not to bend to foreign powers

BEIRUT, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri stressed on Tuesday that the country's decision is in the hands of the Lebanese state and not in the hands of individuals, leaders or regional or international powers.

Hariri made the remarks in a speech during the commemoration of his late father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated 12 years ago in a suicide bombing.

He asserted that "the Lebanese, us in the forefront, will not allow Lebanon to be handed over to foreign axes," adding that the country does not seek rivalry, and will not bear being an arena for conflicts of others.

Lebanon entered a phase of more than two and half years of presidential vacuum following the end of the 6-year term of former president Michel Suleiman in May 2014.

The sharp political division in the country at the time between the Western-backed March 14 camp and the Iranian-Syrian backed March 8 camp hindered the presidential elections due to the lack of quorum during the 42 sessions it held to elect a new president.

The vacuum was ended by election of former army commander General Michel Aoun as the 13th president of Lebanon.

Hariri, leader of the March 14 camp, made an unexpected initiative back then, which endorsed the nomination of Aoun, a leader of the March 8 camp.

"We made initiatives when initiatives were needed to rescue Lebanon and we have the courage to confront when confrontation is needed in order to defend the state," Hariri said.

He said Lebanon is secured legally and constitutionally, and the political efforts "should concentrate on preventing any attempt to remove it from this scope."

He said that "no authority can be higher than the authority of the State.

However, Hariri asserted that he would not compromise on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) that is prosecuting five members of Hezbollah in absentia for their presumed role in the assassination of his father.

He vowed to stand ground over the STL, as well as Lebanon's stance on the Assad regime, illegal arms and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria.

The country has not organized parliamentary elections since 2009 and the legislature has instead twice extended its own mandate. The last polls were held under an amended version of the 1960 electoral law and the next vote is scheduled for May.

[ Editor:yfs001]