BEIRUT: Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said in remarks published Monday that the state should impose its authority throughout Lebanon, including Beirut’s southern suburb – a Hezbollah stronghold.
“The state should extend its authority everywhere, and detain all drug dealers,” Berri told An-Nahar newspaper, adding that the police should carry out its duties without any obstruction.
“Beirut’s southern suburb isn’t an isolated island. Let the Army officers and soldiers get into our homes. They are most welcom," Berri told the newspaper.
He said the resistance group was established to defend the state and not replace it and that its weapons were aimed solely at Israel.
The speaker also voiced full confidence in the patriotism of the military institution and its leadership.
“Amal and Hezbollah believe in the role of the Lebanese Army and are willing to offer it help and support,” he said.
The Army arrested several people over the weekend in the neighborhood of Rways, in Beirut’s southern suburb, following a string of kidnappings of Syrian nationals and a Turkish businessman by the Meqdad clan in retaliation to the seizure of Hassan al-Meqdad, who was allegedly abducted in Syria by the Free Syrian Army.
The Lebanese Army also confiscated a large quantity of weapons, ammunition, explosives and military equipment hidden in a vehicle in Rways.
In the interview with An-Nahar, Berri also touched on the new wages scale for public sector employees that was approved by cabinet last week and noted that the draft law would be referred to the relevant parliamentary committee for study.
The speaker said that if the government united to defend the draft law, it would likely pass in Parliament’s General Assembly.
“In case that doesn’t happen, the Cabinet will have to assume its responsibility,” said Berri.
The Cabinet approved Thursday the new salaries scale for public sector employees, ending a months-long dispute between the government and Union Coordination Committee.