Lebanon News

Beirut MPs discuss arms-free capital

Beirut lawmakers pose for a photo during a meeting to demand an arms-free Beirut following a series of incidents that threatened security in the capital, at the Parliament in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. (Mohammad Azakir/The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: MPs from the capital gathered Monday to discuss ways to establish an arms-free capital in light of recent armed confrontations.

“MPs decided to create delegations to visit the three top officials for continuous work to achieve demilitarization of Beirut,” a statement released after the meeting said.

The MPs, the majority of whom are from the March 14 coalition, also said that the situation can no longer be met with words of condemnation and requires a “bold decision by political and security forces.”

They demanded that parties remove political immunity enjoyed by some people in possession of illegal arms, urging the parties to facilitate their persecution.

“No sane person would accept this new situation in the capital Beirut amid armed confrontations between gunmen roaming secure areas, intimidating citizens and threatening civil peace,” the statement said.

The party has repeatedly called for the end of illegitimate weapons in the country including the removal of Hezbollah’s arsenal which, they say, threatens security and civil peace. The party, headed by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, along with its allies in the March 14 coalition, has said that any national dialogue meetings among rival lawmakers should primarily touch upon Hezbollah’s weapons.

Among those who attended were MPs Mohammad Qabbani, Tamam Salam, Ammar Houri, Imad Hout and Nadim Gemayel.

Hezbollah, however, has said that its arms are intended to defend the country against repeated Israeli aggression.

Two people were wounded Saturday in the Beirut area of Aisha Bakkar, after civilians exchanged fire over a parking spot. A unit of the army interfered in the matter, settled the dispute, and arrested a number of people involved in the incident.

According to a statement released by the army, authorities are still pursuing others who escaped the scene. An investigation has been launched to prosecute suspects.

Other officials have focused on the issue of pulling illegal arms off the streets including Prime Minister Najib Mikati and other Tripoli MPs who have said they will draw up a plan in a bid to disarm the northern city of Tripoli which has witnessed armed clashes on several occasions.





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