Suleiman: Tripoli Clashes Not Linked to Syrian Crisisإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
President Michel Suleiman stressed that Lebanon’s stability cannot be harmed as long as the Taif Accord still stands, noting that the clashes in the northern city of Tripoli have been caused by the mounting security tensions, reported al-Liwaa newspaper on Tuesday.
He told the newspaper: “The clashes in Tripoli have nothing to do with the Syrian crisis.”
Clashes broke out between the rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen in light of the arrest of Islamist Shadi al-Mawlawi on Saturday.
Suleiman added: “He was arrested based on information obtained by the security agencies and therefore the judiciary will have the final say on his release.”
“This means that any street action that demands the release of al-Mawlawi is aimed at destabilizing the situation,” he remarked.
“The army is performing its duties for the sake of all the Lebanese and they should therefore back its efforts to restore stability,” continued the president.
“Lebanon is committed to combating terrorism based on its interest to maintain its national unity and commitment to international resolution,” said Suleiman.
Al-Mawlawi was arrested on charges of having links to a terrorist group.
Five other members of the same group have also been uncovered.
Suleiman voiced his confidence that national unity in Lebanon “cannot be shaken”, saying that Lebanon will not once again serve as an open ground for foreign disputes.
“Stability may be targeted for political gains, but are there currently any powers that are seeking to make such gains?” he asked.
Commenting on fears that civil war may erupt in Lebanon, he remarked: “The Taif Accord has introduced calm in Lebanon.”
Asked about the parliamentary electoral law, the president renewed his commitment to the adoption of proportional representation, saying that the 1960 law is no longer suitable because it no longer properly represents Lebanese diversity.
“We must serve as an example for the whole world. We have a great constitution, but our electoral law is not,” Suleiman stated.
Addressing the fears that the 2013 parliamentary elections may not be staged, he said: “That would be a major sin against our children and political system.”
“Lebanon’s main distinguishing factor is the rotation of power and elections on various levels,” he continued.
“It’s unfortunate that our democratic practices are not what we aspire to,” lamented the president.
“Staging the elections must be a priority,” he stressed.
The March 8 camp has voiced its support for the adoption of proportional representation, while the March 14 camp has advocated the adoption of the amended 1960 law that was used in the 2009 elections.
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat has slammed proportional representation, saying that it is aimed at limiting his political weight.
Commenting on the March 14-led opposition’s accusations that the government has been unproductive, Suleiman said: “This is the best government for the current situation.”
“The opposition has a duty to present its views and not obstruct quorum at parliament,” he added.
“The government must and will remain in power. Democracy lies in attending parliament session, not obstructing them,” he stated.
Asked if the current government will remain in power long enough to supervise the 2013 elections, he replied: “It can play a neutral role in the elections.”
“It’s important for the interior minister and army commander to play a neutral role,” he noted.
On opposition demands for the formation of a neutral government, Suleiman wondered: “When has such a government ever been formed and when has it ever supervised elections?”
Addressing the failure to resume the national dialogue, the president said that some sides are banking on the developments in Syria before taking any decision on the talks.
On the government’s decision to distance Lebanon from the developments in Syria, he said: “This decision is wiser than wise. No one has criticized us over this decision and we will follow through with it.”
“Arab and international powers have voiced their support for this position,” he stressed.