Report: No Escalation Intended Say Mustaqbal, FPM

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In light of reported tension between Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, assurances surfaced on Monday that both have no intention to “escalate the situation or start a political battle” with the other, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Monday.

Sources close to Hariri, of al-Mustaqbal Movement, confirmed to the daily that the prime minister “has no intention of escalation and that he was not an initiator. He is keen on the success of the government he heads, but he will not be silent on the distortion of facts and political manipulation,” they said.

“The intimidating rhetoric of Bassil is very surprising and far from realistic,” they added on condition of anonymity. “It falls within the framework of populism and signals the overthrow of the government unless his proposals were met.”

A major dispute reportedly arose between Bassil and Hariri over the electricity file and the administrative appointments. Reports said that Bassil wants to monopolize the appointments disregarding other Christian parties which Hariri categorically rejects.

In a speech commemorating the March 14 anniversary, Bassil hinted at “toppling” the government when addressing controversial issues.

Sources of the Free Patriotic Movement of Bassil told al-Joumhouria that the FPM has no intention to initiate a political battle with al-Mustaqbal, but at the same time “will not give up on our convictions and constants.”

On Bassil’s speech that included indirect threats of toppling the government, the sources downplayed it and said: “Making hints of the possibility of changing the government is a stimulus package primarily to avoid failure.”

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