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Lebanon: Aoun Calls For Forgiveness…Amal Awaits Bassil’s Apology

Lebanon: Aoun Calls For Forgiveness…Amal Awaits Bassil’s Apology

Wednesday, 31 January, 2018 - 07:00
Berri receives Tuesday the consular corps at his Ain-el-Tineh residence/NNA

Lebanese President Michel Aoun broke on Tuesday the silence caused by a dispute that emerged after the appear of a video in which Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), called Speaker Nabih Berri a 'thug' and by the political and security repercussions of such statements.

Aoun tried to contain the crisis in Lebanon by calling for forgiveness, describing events that happened on the streets of Beirut two days ago as “a huge mistake that was triggered by a previous mistake.”

He added: “I am looking forward to seeing those who traded insults forgive each other, because the nation is bigger than everybody.”

Berri’s surroundings refused to comment on the President’s statement. MPs and ministers from the Amal Movement had previously demanded a public apology from Bassil.

At the beat of efforts to contain the crisis and increase political contacts, sources close to the latest events in Beirut said that the President’s statement “was unsatisfactory because it equalized between the two sides, and showed that Bassil’s mistake was smaller than the one generated by the reactions.”

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, the sources predicted that the Amal Movement would deal with the President’s statement separately and therefore, keep its confrontation with Bassil pending the correction of the mistake.

For its part, “Hezbollah” broke for the first time its neutrality in the disputes between his two allies, Berri and head of the Free Patriotic Movement, Bassil.

The party is publically supporting the Speaker in the “thug” crisis, based on “its conviction that Berri was offended and that such situation cannot be accepted,” sources to Hezbollah told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday.

The sources said: “Our allies at the FPM know that Hezbollah and the Amal Movement are linked by an existential alliance, and that we are two bodies with one soul,” adding that what offends the “Movement” cannot be accepted.

Observers say that the decision of Hezbollah to support the camp of the Amal Movement might affect electoral alliances with the FPM party in the upcoming parliamentary elections expected next May.

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