Aoun Argues against Int'l Probe in Port Blast, Vows Accountability, Truth
President Michel Aoun on Friday said calls for an international probe into the catastrophic blast that rocked Beirut’s port are aimed at “distorting the truth,” as he said the disaster was caused by either negligence or an attack.
“There is no meaning for any verdict if it takes too long to be issued and the judiciary must be swift, because late justice is not justice,” Aoun said at a press conference.
“Like the Lebanese people, I’m angry about the blast that occurred at the port and our goal today is to unveil the truth,” the president added.
“In war as well as in peacetime, no one can push me to commit a mistake and no one can prevent me from unveiling the facts,” Aoun went on to say.
“I do not come from palaces but rather from the people,” he said.
Offering the Lebanese warm condolences, Aoun said “the real consolation is the fulfillment of justice,” stressing that “in the face of this justice, no senior or low-rank official will enjoy impunity.”
As for the explosion, the president said it could have been "negligence or foreign interference through a missile or bomb."
“I have personally asked the French president to provide us with aerial images so that we determine whether there were aircraft or missiles in the air. If the French do not possess such images, we will request them from other nations,” Aoun added.
As for the local probe, Aoun said 20 people are being interrogated.
“But no one can be arrested or put in jail before investigations,” he added.
Asked about French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks Thursday about change in Lebanon, Aoun said Lebanon's “paralyzed” political system should be reconsidered.
“We are before changes and a reconsideration of our current system that is based on consensus,” the president added.
“If we don’t manage to rule ourselves, no one can rule us… and Lebanese sovereignty won’t be violated during my tenure,” Aoun emphasized.