A delegation of Hizbullah and AMAL lawmakers visited the municipality of Hadath on Friday to ease a row with the Free Patriotic Movement and the rising tensions among their supporters that almost threw the country off balance.
An expanded meeting held in Hadath (an FPM stronghold) brought together lawmakers and officials from AMAL, Hizbullah and the FPM in order to "strengthen national unity and coexistence."
George Aoun, the municipality chief of Hadath, began by saying: “We are proud to host members of one family. What happened was a mere summer cloud. We have managed together to stop sedition.”
A leaked video sparked three days of unrest and protests that involved gunfire and sectarianly-charged standoffs between supporters of Aoun and Berri outside the FPM's headquarters in Sin el-Fil and in the town of Hadath.
Hizbullah MP Ali Ammar said: “We are keen on reinforcing internal and national unity,” and stressed that the memorandum of understanding between Hizbullah and the FPM “still stands as long as blood flows in our veins.”
For his part, FPM MP Alain Aoun said addressing AMAL chief Speaker Nabih Berri, he said: “Your dignity is ours to matter, we are country partners and won't allow anything to bear upon the Lebanese arena.”
The meeting came one day after a gesture of goodwill when President Michel Aoun held phone talks with Speaker Nabih Berri during Prime Minister Saad Hariri's meeting with Aoun in Baabda and at the premier's request, according to reports.
A Presidency statement said Aoun's talks with Berri tackled “the repeated Israeli violations against Lebanon,” stressing that “the challenges we are facing require us to turn the page on what happened lately and to work hand in hand to achieve Lebanon's interest.”
The two agreed to meet on Tuesday “to mull the steps that should be taken to confront the repeated Israeli threats and discuss the general situations in the country.”
The Aoun-Berri spat initially erupted after the president and the premier signed a decree granting one-year's seniority to a number of officers. Berri and Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil insisted that the decree should have carried the finance minister's signature.
The crisis between the two parties deteriorated dramatically after the emergence of a leaked video showing Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil – Aoun's son-in-law calling Berri a "thug" during a closed meeting.
The footage drew the ire of Berri's aides and political allies, who lashed out at Bassil, with Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil calling the foreign minister “lowly” and a “political dwarf.”
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