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Lebanon: ‘Liar Video’ Sparks Controversy, Presidency Says it is Distorted

Lebanon: ‘Liar Video’ Sparks Controversy, Presidency Says it is Distorted

Wednesday, 13 January, 2021 - 09:30
President Michel Aoun during his meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab at the Baabda Palace on Monday (Dalati & Nohra)

A leaked video of President Michel Aoun accusing Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri of “lying” continued to spark controversy and reflected the complexity of obstacles hindering the formation of a new government.

Following his first indirect response to Aoun, Hariri published on Tuesday on his Vero account a poem entitled, “If.” It includes advice on how to deal with lies and delusions, including: “If they lied to you while you were not indulged in lying, and they hated you while you did not give way to hatred, nevertheless do not neglect nobility or wisdom...”

The leaked video appeared to be an extract taken from a meeting between Aoun and Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab, ahead of the Supreme Defense Council meeting on Monday.

In the video, Diab asks Aoun about developments regarding the formation of a new government. The latter answers: “There is no formation… [Hariri] said that he gave me a paper.” He adds: “He is lying... He made false statements... and traveled to Turkey.”

For his part, Hariri’s media advisor, Hussein Al-Wajeh, wrote on his Twitter account: “The decision-making circles in Baabda Palace insist that the President be implicated in controversial issues and random stances, as we have seen in the farce video… The Lebanese know that the core of the problem lies in the palace circles, and that Prime Minister Hariri is awaiting a decision to open the door to a government of specialists that addresses the threat of the coronavirus and proceeds with the implementation of solutions and reforms.”

The Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) denounced Aoun’s comments in the leaked video. PSP MP Bilal Abdallah said on Twitter: “Through a movie nominated for the Cannes Festivals, the theory of the ‘father of all’ has fallen… leaving the orphaned Lebanese without an authority.”

He continued: “The history of our homeland, in its most severe crises and tribulations, has never seen this decline... It’s fatal timing for the coup against the Taif Agreement!”

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, sources in the presidential palace stressed that the video was distorted and showed parts of the conversation between Aoun and Diab.

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