Lebanon News

Hariri takes to Twitter, Berri responds

Hariri: “Democracy is our refuge.”

BEIRUT: Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri took again to Twitter over the weekend to reach out to his followers, praising the Arab revolutions and criticizing members in the March 8 coalition.

“No voting for [Parliament Speaker Nabih] Berri anymore if we win the election. That is a promise,” Hariri, who said he was presently in the Saudi capital Riyadh, wrote in response to one tweet Sunday.

The tweet drew criticism by the Parliament speaker Monday.

“Hariri has revealed in his electronic messages a number of his personal hobbies these days, one of which is diving. The Lebanese have also discovered a new hobby of the ‘sheikh’ and that is of politics. Better he dive in the former than the latter,” Berri said in a statement.

During his live Tweet session Sunday, which started at 8 p.m., Hariri voiced his solidarity with protesters in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, writing, “Look at Tunsia, look at Egypt, look at Libya in the end the people will get what they want freedom.”

Hariri also praised anti-government protesters in Syria, saying, “I think the Syrian opposition should have a say on that what they want and to be clear of what they want. I can't answer for them.”

He added that the violence that occurred after the recent Arab initiative to help end the crisis in Lebanon’s neighbor was “an outrage” and “the people will get their freedom.”

Hariri’s live interaction with followers and supporters came only an hour before Prime Minister Najib Mikati held his own joint live Twitter session with British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher on the subjects of social media and digital diplomacy.

Hariri, who has been out of the country since April, also discussed his thoughts about weapons in the region, suggesting that the Middle East should be a nuclear-free zone.

“We have been hearing a lot about Iran's ambition for a nuclear weapon but I believe the whole Middle East should not have it,” wrote Hariri in one of his tweets.

Referring to Hezbollah, he said, “People should never [carry] arms, two wrongs don't make a right.”

Sunday night was Hariri’s third day in a row of lengthy interactions with his Twitter followers. The first was Friday night, when he surprised people by fielding live questions. Hariri also held a session on Saturday. In each discussion, he has expressed his desire to return to Lebanon soon.





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