Naharnet

Ain el-Tineh Visitors: Berri Man of Valour to Apologize for Harm Caused by Protesters

Visitors to Speaker Nabih Berri reflected Wednesday the Speaker's “audacity” to apologize to Lebanese citizens over any harm caused by AMAL supporters during the latest street protests denouncing Bassil's remarks.

“Berri has the audacity and responsibility to apologize to the Lebanese for any harm caused to any citizen,” said AMAL Movement MP Ali Bazzi after Berri's weekly meeting with lawmakers.

Bazzi added that AMAL chief, Berri, “did not give instructions to AMAL supporters to take to the streets,” adding that it was an impulsive reaction following Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil's remarks about the Speaker.

On reports about a possible resignation of AMAL ministers from the Cabinet in reaction, Bazzi said: “Berri sees no interest for anyone in the resignation of the government.”

Footage of Minister Bassil, who is also head of the Free Patriotic Movement, was leaked on Sunday showing the minister calling parliament speaker a "thug" in a closed meeting.

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

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

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

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.


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