President Michel Aoun followed up Sunday on the “tragic security incidents” in the area of Khalde, asking the army to take instant measures to restore calm, the Presidency said.
Aoun also called on the army to “arrest the shooters, withdraw the gunmen (from the streets) and secure citizens’ movement on the international highway,” the Presidency added in a statement.
The President considered that “the current circumstances do not allow for any security violation or practices that inflame sedition,” calling on all parties to “cooperate” to help in stifling discord, the statement said.
Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab for his part held a series of phone calls and stressed the need to foil “sedition schemes.”
Diab’s calls involved ex-PM Saad Hariri, caretaker Defense Minister Zeina Akar, caretaker Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi, Army chief General Joseph Aoun and Hizbullah, the Premiership said.
PM-designate Najib Miqati meanwhile called the army chief, who reassured him that “the army will reinforce its presence in the area to control the situation.”
Miqati also called on the area’s residents to “show awareness and restraint in order to preserve lives and not be be dragged into sedition and meaningless fighting.”
Hizbullah for its part decried what it called a “premeditated ambush” that targeted Ali Chebli’s mourners, urging the army and security forces to “intervene in a decisive way to impose security and work quickly on arresting the criminal killers in order to put them on trial.”
Al-Mustaqbal Movement for its part said it held a series of contacts, especially with the leaders of Khalde’s Arab tribes, with the aim of “pacification” and preventing any sectarian strife.
Speaking to al-Jadeed TV, Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat said he was ready to seek a reconciliation between the parties in cooperation with Speajer Nabih Berri, ex-PM Hariri and Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan.
Noting that he does not think that the clashes will lead to sectarian strife, Jumblat called for arresting the shooters immediately and for reaching a reconciliation, because “the road of the South is everyone’s road.”