Jumblat Slams Bassil, Gharib, Criticizes Hariri, Othman, Vows to Sue al-Jadeed

Progressive Socialist Party leader ex-MP Walid Jumblat on Sunday hit out at Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil, warning him against “playing with fire,” as he lashed out over several other issues.

Referring to Bassil’s latest press conference, Jumblat said: “We have noticed unilateralism in the formation of the government as if the premiership was nearly absent and as if Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil has laid out the broad lines of the cabinet’s policy statement and the upcoming period. This violates the Taef Accord and is tantamount to playing with fire.”

Speaking to reporters after an emergency meeting for his Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc in Clemenceau, Jumblat also revealed that a Gathering delegation will visit President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri to ask the question: “What is the fate of the Taef Accord?”

Hoping to get a clear answer from Hariri, the PSP leader added: “If Hariri wants to renounce the Taef Accord, this will create a major crisis in the country.”

Turning to the issue of Internal Security Forces officer Wael Malaeb, Jumblat stressed that he supports the enforcement of the law but urged ISF chief Maj. Gen. Imad Othman to “eradicate all corruption at his directorate” and to ensure a “transparent probe” in the case of Malaeb and his colleagues.

“And if he has the ability, he should rein in the major scandals at Beirut’s airport, where perhaps there are regional balances,” Jumblat added.

Separately, the PSP leader slammed the new state minister for refugee affairs, Saleh al-Gharib, who is loyal to his Druze rival MP Talal Arslan, lamenting that “the new alliance” has “imposed a refugee affairs minister whose political affiliation is Syrian.”

“We will not give up the issue of protecting the refugees and we will not be dragged into the will of the pro-Syria camp to send them to the holocaust and torture in Syria,” Jumblat added.

As for the recent grenade attack on al-Jadeed television, Jumblat stressed that he is “against the assault” but revealed that he will file a lawsuit against the TV network.

“The perpetrator is present and I will await for the right circumstances to hand him over,” Jumblat said, acknowledging that those who carried out the attack are supporters of his party.

“There are certain segments of society who do not tolerate insults against their icons,” the PSP leader added, describing the ‘Abu al-Qaaqaa’ character in Charbel Khalil’s ‘Qadh-w-Jamm’ satirical TV show as “another type of attacks against Walid Jumblat.”

And noting that the aforementioned segment had contained “incitement against civil peace,” Jumblat said he will file a lawsuit against al-Jadeed over the “indirect insult.”

Responding to a question, the PSP leader said: “We will not withdraw our ministers from the government, they will handle their files and we will confront.”

Source: Naharnet

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