Change and Reform Reminds of Bassil's Monday Apology, Says 'Dignities are Equal'

The Change and Reform parliamentary bloc noted Tuesday that Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil has already apologized over his leaked remarks against Speaker Nabih Berri, dismissing AMAL Movement's calls for a televised apology.

“Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil had voluntarily expressed his regret several days ago and this matter is related to the FPM's ethics,” Change and Reform said in a statement issued after its weekly meeting, referring to Bassil's Monday remarks to al-Akhbar newspaper.

The statement was recited by the bloc's secretary MP Ibrahim Kanaan.

Referring to President Michel Aoun's call for “forgiveness,” Change and Reform said it forgives the AMAL Movement supporters who “attacked” FPM's headquarters in Sin el-Fil on Monday.

“We are keen on stability and we well not back down from the mission of building the state,” the bloc added.

“Our statement is clear and Bassil's voluntary initiative and our forgiveness after President Michel Aoun's stance mean that to us the issue has ended,” Kanaan said, responding to a reporter's question.

He also stressed that “the dignities of all Lebanese are equal and therefore there should be respect for the sanctity of public and private properties.”

In his remarks to al-Akhbar, Bassil said he “expresses regret” over remarks he voiced “in a closed meeting in a Batroun town away from media coverage.”

“The remarks contradict with our ethics and rhetoric and were the result of the atmosphere that engulfed the meeting. No matter how much we attack him (Berri), we do not accept to voice unethical remarks,” Bassil added.

In the leaked video, Bassil calls Berri a “thug.”

The footage drew the ire of Berri's aides and political allies, who lashed out at Bassil, as supporters of the Speaker's AMAL Movement blocked roads across the country and encircled the FPM's headquarters in Sin el-Fil.

The video came amid an escalating dispute between Berri and Aoun over a decree granting one-year's seniority to a number of army officers.

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil meanwhile described Bassil in a tweet that followed the emergence of the video as "lowly" and a "political dwarf."

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