Salam Urges End to Presidential Void, Slams 'Unjustified, Unacceptable Failure'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Prime Minister Tammam Salam on Friday raised the voice against the continued failure to elect a new president for the country, especially after the parliament voted to extend its own term, stressing that “this unsound situation is unacceptable.”
“The harm against Christians is failure to elect a president and we cannot accept this unsound situation,” said Salam at a conference titled “Family and the Current Challenges in the Middle East”, which was held at the International Center for Dialogue of Civilizations in Rabweh.
“Political forces found an exit through extending the parliament's term and it is their duty to elect the Maronite Christian president as soon as possible, and any delay is an insult to Lebanon,” Salam underlined.
On Thursday, the legislature voted to extend its mandate until June 20, 2017.
Lebanon has been without a head of state since May, when President Michel Suleiman stepped down after his six-year term ended without a replacement. The presidency is the country's top Christian-held position.
Separately, the prime minister said the recent “acts of terror” in the northern city of Tripoli “were confronted through a hefty price that we paid from the blood of our officers, soldiers and civilians.”
“Tripoli proved that it did not contain a so-called incubator of terrorism and confirmed its adherence to its moderate Islam,” Salam said.
He noted that Tripoli, the North and entire Lebanon “embraced the Lebanese army, which fought the battle of the Tripolitans and all Lebanese against those who tampered with its (Tripoli's) security.”
“Terrorism has sent its evils to Lebanon and we witnessed bomb attacks and an aggression in Arsal that was accompanied by the abduction of a number of our servicemen,” said Salam, referring to the August 2 jihadist assault on the northeastern border town.
“We stress that we will exhaust all means in order to return them to their families,” the PM added.
The al-Nusra Front and Islamic State extremist groups kidnapped around 35 troops and policemen during the Arsal clashes. Seven were released while three have since been executed, amid an outcry by the families of the hostages, who have been staging protests across the country.
Turning to the rise of Islamist extremism in the region, Salem called on “Lebanese and Arab Muslims to purify their ranks and their moderate Islam and to work for keeping Christians in their land.”
“I call on Arab Christians to make a key contribution to the creation of the region's present and future, the same as they were partners in shaping its past,” he added.
“The problem of Christians can only be solved through the cooperation of Christians and Muslims and the problem of Muslims can only be solved through the cooperation of Muslims and Christians,” said Salam.