Berri and Hariri Urge Fast Govt. Formation, Say Security Forces Must Play Their Role


by Naharnet Newsdesk

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday discussed the latest political developments in a meeting that lasted for more than an hour and a half in Ain el-Tineh, a joint statement said.

“The two leaders urged all Lebanese to show awareness and vigilance during this period and not to be dragged into strife,” the statement said, warning that some parties are exerting “strenuous efforts to drag the country into the inferno of strife.”

The threat of strife “can only be confronted through preserving civil peace and national unity and shunning incitement, and mainly through allowing security forces and the Lebanese Army to carry out their roles and perform their mission of safeguarding security and protecting people’s safety and public and private property,” the statement added.

As for the designation of a new premier and the formation of a new government, Berri and Hariri emphasized that there is “a dire national need to form a government,” calling for “approaching this juncture in a calm atmosphere away from political tensions” and urging the parties to “put the country’s interest before any other interest.”

The statement comes after assailants coming from a stronghold of Berri’s AMAL Movement and its ally Hizbullah clashed with security forces in Beirut and carried out riot acts in the capital and the country’s south and east following a social media video deemed offensive to the country’s Shiites.

It was the third consecutive night of violence in Lebanon, coming after President Michel Aoun on Monday postponed talks on naming a new prime minister, further prolonging the unrest in the protest-hit country.

The violence was fueled by an undated video circulating online of a man, said to be living somewhere in Europe but otherwise from Lebanon’s majority Sunni city of Tripoli, railing against Shiite politicians, religious figures and others. It was unclear what the link was between the video and the attacks on protest camps.

Supporters of Hizbullah and Berri’s AMAL, angered by protesters’ criticism and insults against their leaders, have tried to attack the protest camps for days.

They clashed for hours with security forces guarding a central Beirut protest camp on Monday, hurling stones and firecrackers and setting fire to several cars, trees and a building under construction overlooking the square. Police responded with tear gas and water cannons.



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