BEIRUT: Culture Minister Gaby Layyoun warned Thursday that he would press charges against anyone issuing insults against him or the ministry Monday, as the dispute continued over Plot 1398 in Downtown Beirut. The statement from Layyoun’s office added that the decision to list the plot as a Phoenician port to be protected as a heritage site was taken rashly. The minister was reiterating his stance in the ongoing dispute at Mina al-Hosn, where construction began last week before being frozen by a judicial decision. He said former Culture Ministers Salim Wardy, Tammam Salam and Tarek Mitri waged “successive media campaigns that were not focused on truth or any scientific basis,” misleading public opinion. He added that the Culture Ministry and the Directorate General of Antiquities were the only official authorities regarding decisions on historical ruins.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 03, 2012, on page 4.