The Doha Agreement

The closing session of the Lebanese Dialogue Conference in Doha, Qatar, was held at 10:30 AM on May 21, 2008. During this session, Qatari PM and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassem read the following address:

Your Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar,
Honorable Lebanese brothers,

With the Grace of God and thanks to the cooperation of our Lebanese brothers and the efforts made by the Arab League’s secretary-general and their Excellencies the members of the Ministerial Committee, an agreement was reached based on a consensus and understanding among our Lebanese brothers. Dear brothers, your wisdom and cooperation with me and the members of the committee played an essential role in concluding this agreement, which we hope, first and foremost, will be implemented immediately in order to preserve Lebanon’s security and stability and secure its people’s progress and welfare.

It is a pleasure for me to read out the text of the agreement that was reached this morning by the participants in the National Dialogue Conference in Doha:

“The Doha Agreement ‘on the results of the Lebanese National Dialogue Conference’

Under the honorable aegis of His Highness Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar, and pursuant to the efforts made by the Arab Ministerial Committee to resolve the Lebanese crisis under the guidance of Qatari PM and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jar al-Thani, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and their Excellencies the foreign ministers of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Democratic Popular Republic of Algeria, the Republic of Djibouti, the Sultanate of Oman, the Moroccan Kingdom and the Republic of Yemen,

Based on the Arab initiative regarding containment of the Lebanese crisis, and in pursuance of the agreement concluded among the Lebanese parties in Beirut on May 15, 2008, under the aegis of the Arab Ministerial Committee, which is an integral part of this Declaration (enclosed),

The Lebanese National Dialogue Conference was held in Doha between May 16 and May 21, 2008, with the participation of the Lebanese political leaders who are members of the National Dialogue Conference and who have asserted their commitment to saving Lebanon and ending the current political crisis and its dangerous consequences for the coexistence formula and civil peace among the Lebanese, as well as their commitment to the principles enshrined by the Lebanese constitution and the Taif Accord; and as a result of this Conference, as well as of the bilateral and collective meetings and consultations between the president and members of the Arab Ministerial Committee and all parties that took part in this Conference,

The following agreement was reached:

First: The parties have agreed on having the Lebanese parliament speaker, based on the rules in effect, invite the parliament to convene within 24 hours to elect consensus candidate General Michel Sleiman, knowing that this is the best constitutional method to elect the president under these exceptional circumstances.

Second: forming a national unity government composed of 30 ministers distributed among the majority (16 ministers), the opposition (11 ministers) and the president (3 ministers), and by virtue of this agreement, all parties commit not to resign or obstruct the government’s actions.

Third: adopting the caza as an electoral constituency in conformity with the 1960 law, whereby the cazas of Marjayoun-Hasbaya, Baalbek-Hermel and West Bekaa-Rachaya remain as a single electoral constituency each.

As for Beirut, it was divided in the following manner:

The first district: Achrafieh – Rmeil – Saifi
The second district: Bachoura – Medawar – the Port
The third district: Minet al-Hosn – Ain al-Mreisseh – Al-Mazraa – Mousseitbeh – Ras Beirut – Zoqaq al-Blat

Agreeing on referring the reform clauses mentioned in the draft law prepared by the National Commission on Electoral Law Reform, which was headed by Minister Fouad Boutros, to the parliament in order to examine and discuss them in accordance with the rules in effect.

Fourth: Pursuant to the abovementioned Beirut Agreement, especially Paragraphs 4 and 5, which stated the following:

Paragraph 4: The parties commit to abstain from having recourse or resuming the use of weapons and violence in order to record political gains.

Paragraph 5: Initiate a dialogue on promoting the Lebanese state’s authority over all Lebanese territory and their relationship with the various groups on the Lebanese stage in order to ensure the state’s and the citizens’ security.

Hence, the dialogue was initiated in Doha on promoting the state’s authority according to Paragraph 5 of the Beirut Agreement, and an agreement was reached on the following:

- Prohibiting the use of weapons or violence or taking refuge in them in any dispute whatsoever and under any circumstances, in order to ensure respect for the national partnership contract, based on the Lebanese people’s commitment to live with one another within the framework of the Lebanese system, and to restrict the security and military authority over Lebanese nationals and residents to the state alone so as to ensure the continuity of the coexistence formula and civil peace among all the Lebanese; and the parties pledge to all of the above.

- Implementing the law and upholding the sovereignty of the state throughout Lebanon so as not to have regions that serve as safe havens for outlaws, out of respect for the supremacy of the law, and referring all those who commit crimes and contraventions to the Lebanese judiciary.

This dialogue is to be resumed under the aegis of the president as soon as he is elected and a national unity government is formed, and with the participation of the Arab League in such a way as to boost confidence among the Lebanese.

Fifth: Reasserting the commitment of the Lebanese political leaders to immediately abstain from resorting to the rhetoric of treason or political or sectarian instigation.

The Arab Ministerial Committee undertakes to register this agreement before the Arab League General Secretariat as soon as it is signed.

This agreement was signed in Doha on May 21, 2008 by the Lebanese political leaders participating in the Conference and in the presence of the president and members of the Arab Ministerial Committee.”

-Translated by NOW Staff