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Geagea: Security incidents in Lebanon diminish state's prestige

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea speaks during a ceremony in Byblos, Lebanon, Tuesday, April 10, 2012. (The Daily Star/Aldo Ayoub, HO)

BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea expressed optimism Friday over the country’s long-term outlook but said recent security incidents have shaken the state’s standing.

“Lebanon’s future is positive and we are on the threshold of better days despite all the [developments] that surround us in the region and despite the fact that we live under a government that has forsaken the country’s security, economy and [citizens’] standard of living,” Geagea said, according to an LF statement.

Geagea’s remarks came following a meeting with a delegation from Beit Mallat from Akkar, north Lebanon.

Despite the positive outlook, the LF leader warned that recent security incidents tarnish the state’s image.

“The chaotic security situation we see, whether in the capital of Beirut or moving between the regions from Tripoli to Akkar or the Lebanese-Syrian borders, should not continue because it causes the state to lose its prestige,” he said.

“The government needs to call on the security and judicial apparatuses to strike with an iron fist and impose its authority on all, without discrimination, in order to regain the trust of citizens followed by tourists,” he added.

The government’s much-trumpeted plan to bolster security in Beirut following a series of incidents that threatened to destabilize the country this week has suffered a series of setbacks and come under fire by opposition March 14 politicians.

However, a senior security official, speaking to The Daily Star Thursday on condition of anonymity, remained optimistic about the plan’s long-term prospects.

Turning to the situation in Syria, Geagea, a fierce critic of President Bashar Assad, said the regime had become isolated and reiterated that it “would not last long.”

He also denied that the fall of Assad would have negative repercussions on Lebanon, “given that the Syrian revolution took off on the basis of the search for freedom and democracy.”

He called on residents of Beit Mallat to hold fast to their lands and refrain from selling them.

Father Mtanios Saba, speaking on behalf of Beit Mallat’s residents, thanked the LF for the party’s assistance in renovating the dome of the Raiyya church.

 

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