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Lebanon News

MP Bahia Hariri blames Mikati for Lebanon crisis

FILE - Sidon MP Bahia Hariri, speaks during a meeting in Majdelyoun, Lebanon, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011. (Mohammed Zaatari/The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: Sidon MP Bahia Hariri blamed Prime Minister Najib Mikati Tuesday for the deteriorating situation in the country.

“I am not calling on Mikati to resign ... I am just saying the situation we have reached is a result [of Mikati’s behavior],” Hariri told reporters at a news conference in her home city of Sidon, where a recent clash between supporters of Hezbollah and a Salafist preacher claimed the lives of three people.

Speaking from her Majdalioun residence, Hariri said that Mikati’s Cabinet tried to depict the instability in the country in opposite terms.

“You should trust the stability Cabinet,” she said mockingly. “What the Lebanese are witnessing in terms of violence and the crisis in Lebanon is portrayed as stability by this government,” she added.

“Thank you Najib Mikati ... You don’t need anyone to defend you. The stability you talk about is enough to answer all accusations [against the Cabinet],” Hariri said, addressing the head of the Lebanese government.

“I was hoping you [Mikati] wouldn’t be a part of the dark stage the country is witnessing,” she said.

Mikati was nominated in early 2011 to replace former Prime Minister Saad Hariri after ministers loyal to the March 8 alliance resigned, forcing the government’s collapse. The Tripoli MP officially took office on June 13, 2011, following consultations on how to distribute ministerial portfolios among Lebanese political groups. The March 14-led opposition refused to take part in the Mikati government.

During the news conference, Hariri said Sidon was going through a delicate “security situation” and warned that any counterproductive step would destroy “the roads paved to preserve the city’s unity and stability.”

“Sidon is in need of your wisdom, now, more than ever,” said Hariri, in reference to the city’s residents.

“If you have chosen to fight and wage war, I urge you to back down from such a decision,” she added.

A clash between supporters of Hezbollah and Sunni preacher Sheikh Ahmad Assir in Sidon Sunday left three people dead and five others wounded.

After the fighting, linked to tensions over the 20-month-old bloody conflict in Syria, the Army warned it would deal firmly with anyone trying to undermine security in Sidon.

Tension in the coastal city still runs high amid reports that Assir plans on forming a military wing and holding further demonstrations and sit-ins.

 

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