Hariri attends a meeting at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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An all-out war of words escalated Monday between Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Druze leader Walid Joumblatt, overshadowing the progress of officials trying to draft a policy statement for the new government. Ringing in the new week with an early tweet, Joumblatt criticized what he said was the first item on the draft policy dealing with a borrowed $17 billion. Once again, Joumblatt came out swinging, this time targeting Hariri and Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil.The tensions between the sides became heated after Joumblatt and his Progressive Socialist Party accused Hariri and Bassil of abandoning the Taif Accord, which ended the 1975-90 Civil War. Joumblatt said Sunday.Monday afternoon, Hariri respond to Joumblatt a second time.Joumblatt has been noticeably agitated that his party did not name all three Druze ministers in the new government.Bassil's FPM formed an alliance with Joumblatt's Druze archrival MP Talal Arslan in the last parliamentary elections, resulting in Joumblatt losing his monopoly over the Druze community. Joumblatt was not the only member of the PSP to lash out at Hariri and Bassil. He was backed by his top political aide and Industry Minister Wael Abu Faour, who also accused Bassil of violating the Taif Accord in comments over the government formation process.
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