Report: Salam to Meet Delegation of Relatives of Captives on Fridayإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Prime Minister Tammam Salam is expected to meet on Friday with a delegation of relatives of the soldiers and policemen kidnapped by Islamists in August, reported As Safir newspaper on Friday.
It said that the meeting will be attended by Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouq and will be part of the recently formed ministerial crisis committee tasked with following up on the case.
On Thursday, the cabinet formed the committee, which is chaired by Salam and comprised of Mashnouq, Defense Minister Samir Moqbel, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, and Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi.
The relatives' follow up committee meanwhile convened on Thursday night and took the decision against heading to the Grand Serail to meet with Salam “because it does not have faith in the government, making the talks pointless,” reported As Safir.
Earlier, relatives of the abducted troops and policemen called on Army chief General Jean Qahwaji to “arrest all ministers” and swap them for the hostages, warning that the state has 24 hours to act or face unknown consequences.
“We have an initiative that involves the (army's) arrest of all ministers and swapping them for the troops held by the militants out of respect for the state's prestige,” a spokesman for the families said during a lengthy sit-in outside the Grand Serail, where the cabinet was holding a regular session.
“We give the state 24 hours to act or else we won't be responsible for the consequences,” the man cautioned on Thursday.
Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas meanwhile expressed to al-Akhbar newspaper on Friday the cabinet's “great annoyance” with their position.
The relatives warned on Thursday of a “strife” in the Bekaa, calling for the release of Roumieh inmates if the matter ensures their loved ones' safe release.
The cabinet had however rejected the idea of holding a swap in exchange for the captives.
The soldiers and policemen were kidnapped in August in light of clashes between the army and Islamsist in the northeastern border town of Arsal.