Prime Minister Saad Hariri stressed Friday that “the country's dignity is more important than the dignity of individuals and parties,” in the wake of three days of unrest sparked by Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil's labeling of Speaker Nabih Berri as a “thug.”
“The martyr premier (Rafik Hariri) and we after him have faced waves of statements and insults that are much worse than what you are hearing today, but we have always considered the country's dignity to be more important than the dignity of individuals and parties,” Hariri said during a Mustaqbal Movement rally.
Commenting on the violent protests that followed Bassil's leaked remarks, the premier said “the events of the past week are a lesson for everyone.”
“A lesson that a sharp-toned rhetoric does not create a solution but rather political tensions, and a lesson that the use of arms for resolving political disputes would only lead to strife,” Hariri added.
“We are witnessing before our eyes that those who carry arms inside the country have started to be scared of them,” the premier noted.
“It is also a lesson that taking to the streets, blocking roads and burning tires will not lead to a result,” Hariri went on to say.
And calling for “respecting dignities, refraining from insults, rising above trivialities, shunning street action and chaos, and putting Lebanon's interest before any personal, partisan or electoral interest,” the premier underlined that “from now on, the Lebanese will not accept to keep their country's fate hinging on a certain word or a certain reaction.”
“They want to restore confidence in their state, security and stability instead of recalling the memories of the black and ominous days,” Hariri added.
He also reassured that “all political components will rise to the level of responsibility.”
Hariri's remarks come a day after President Michel Aoun held phone talks with Berri.
In the phone conversation, the two leaders agreed to put an end to the war of words between their two parties and to hold a meeting on Tuesday. A reconciliation meeting was also held Friday in the town of Hadath, the scene of a major confrontation during the unrest.
The unrest was sparked by a leaked video showing Bassil calling Berri a "thug" and vowing to "break his head" during a closed meeting in Batroun.
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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