Ain el-Tineh: Bassil's Remarks 'Won't be Ignored'

Lebanon's political atmospheres tensed up following remarks made by Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil about Speaker Nabih Berri, which “will reflect negatively on the Presidential term and government” amid unconfirmed chances that AMAL ministers “might resign from the Cabinet,” al-Joumhouria daily reported on Tuesday.

Ain el-Tineh sources (residence of AMAL Movement and Speaker Berri) told the daily: “Shall a settlement be reached it must be based on new rules. Former equations have fallen,” they said, referring to a fragile media truce between AMAL and the Free Patriotic Movement led by Bassil.

“Tension was suddenly stirred up after a fragile media truce between FPM and AMAL. This can only be interpreted as an intention to foil the parliamentary elections, but we assured everyone that we are determined more than ever to hold them on time,” they stressed.

Emphasizing that Bassil's remarks will not be ignored, they said: “Delusional are those who think that what is happening will be overlooked. We will announce the steps we need to take on time. We have not taken a decision at the level of government.”

A video emerged Sunday night showing Bassil calling Berri "thug" in a closed meeting.

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

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

The footage drew the ire of Berri's political allies, who lashed out at Bassil. AMAL Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil described Bassil in a tweet as "lowly" and a "political dwarf."

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.

Source: Naharnet, Associated Press

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