LEBANON’S newly named Prime Minister Tamam Salam pledged in his first speech to safeguard the country’s security from the war raging in neighbouring Syria.
“There is a need to bring Lebanon out of its state of division and political fragmentation, as reflected on the security situation, and to ward off the risks brought by the tragic situation in the neighbouring (country) and by regional tensions,” Salam said on Saturday.
Salam, 67, of the Western-backed opposition made the remarks in his inaugural speech shortly after being tasked by President Michel Sleiman with forming a new government.
His appointment comes two weeks after Najib Mikati resigned and effectively brought down his Hezbollah-dominated government.
Salam also pledged to work with all groups across Lebanon’s political spectrum, which is split into pro- and anti-Damascus camps.
“I have accepted this nomination… out of conviction that it is my duty to work for my country’s interest, in cooperation with all political parties,” he said.
Lebanon was dominated politically and militarily by Syria until 2005, and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad still holds sway over Beirut through Hezbollah and other allies.
The March 14 opposition movement, meanwhile, is fiercely opposed to Damascus.