Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said Monday that he "believes in democracy and freedom of expression as long as it does not attack others people’s dignities and freedoms."
Siniora made his comments during a meeting with delegations from Aley and the Bekaa Valley, who were visiting the Grand Serail to express support for the premier.
"Saying that the government is unconstitutional is unfounded … if it is illegal, why are some parties calling for its resignation?" Siniora said.
"We will resume dialogue no matter what … Why waste time and increase the Lebanese people’s burden?" he asked.
Siniora said Lebanon was going through a "critical period, which requires cooperation from the various parties in order to preserve national unity."
The Druze Religious Council expressed support for the government, stressing that street demonstrations lead nowhere.
"Siniora’s government is national … we refuse to topple it in the street and plunge the country into mayhem," said council secretary Mounir Hamzeh. "We believe in dialogue, which is the only solution to the current crisis."
Highlighting the council’s support for the establishment of an international tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Hamzeh said the killings of political leaders in Lebanon would not stop unless an international court is set up.
"The role of sects is to preserve national unity … this role is not measured by the number of people in each sect but by the achievements of their leaders, such as [Saad] Hariri, MP Walid Jumblatt and Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir," he said.
Siniora also met with former Minister Omar Misqawi, heading a delegation from the Higher Islamic Religious Council.
"We cannot say that the state is absent or nonexistent," Misqawi, the council’s vice-president said.
Siniora later met with a delegation from the Beirut and Mount Lebanon Chamber of Agriculture, Industry and Trade. "Siniora is keen on cooperating with all parties in order to restore life to Lebanon," Ghazi Qoreitem, the chamber’s president said.