Aoun Warns against Street Protests, Vows to Work for 'National Unity'

President Michel Aoun on Wednesday stressed that “streets have never been the right place to resolve political disputes,” referring to the protests and unrest of the past two days.

“The natural place is state institutions, because resorting to street action harms the stability that Lebanon is enjoying despite being in an explosive region,” Aoun said, emphasizing that “what happened over the past two days should not be repeated.”

“I will continue to work on bolstering national unity, no matter the obstacles that some parties may put in my way, because I know that this is the desire of the Lebanese people regardless of their political affiliations and choices,” the president added.

Aoun, however, underlined that he is “determined to practice the powers that the constitution stipulates for the president.”

And reiterating his commitment to the Taef Accord, which ended the civil war, the president called for implementing it “without selectivity.”

“We cannot disregard the legal violations that are happening,” Aoun added, noting that “those who obstruct the course of reform do not want the welfare of Lebanon and the Lebanese or a state of law and institutions.”

The unrest and protests of the past two days were sparked by the emergence of a leaked video showing Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil – Aoun's son-in-law – calling Speaker Nabih Berri a "thug" during a closed meeting in Batroun.

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

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.

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