Naharnet

Report: Bassil 'Won't Apologize' for Berri Remarks

The Free Patriotic Movement stressed on Tuesday that its leader “will not apologize” for remarks he made about Speaker Nabih Berri, as sources close to the Speaker assured that absence of a “public apology” means “there is no government or (President Michel Aoun's) term,” al-Akhbar daily reported on Tuesday,

FPM head and Foreign “Minister Jebran Bassil will not apologize, he would only express regret as he announced through al-Akhbar on Monday,” the daily quoted unnamed FPM sources as saying.

They pointed out that a “public apology” as requested by AMAL Movement, “is considered submission which we reject. We only apologize through our deeds and actions not upon someone's asking.”

A video emerged Sunday night showing the foreign minister calling Lebanon's powerful parliament speaker a "thug" in a closed meeting.

Meanwhile, the daily quoted sources of March 8 camp close to Berri who said: “Shall Bassil refrain from making a public apology, it would mean there is no government or term.”

Bassil, is Aoun's son-in-law and heads his Free Patriotic Movement party.

The leaked video comes amid an escalating dispute between Aoun and Berri over a decree that promoted a number of Lebanese army officers.

The video triggered protests Monday in some areas of Beirut. Some supporters of Berri set fire to tires and to pictures of Aoun and Bassil, shouting slogans against the foreign minister.

Hizbullah, an ally of Aoun but also traditionally an ally of Berri's Shiite AMAL Movement, issued a statement categorically rejecting Bassil's statements. Such statements "do not build a state ... but create more crises and disunity," it said.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri said "Lebanon does not need more escalation" and that he would exert all efforts to calm the political rhetoric in the country.

Lebanese politics is still dominated by the same factions that fought one another in the 1975-1990 civil war.

Source: Naharnet


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