Lebanon News

Hariri contacts officials for Independence Day

In this June 12, 2009 file photo, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks during an interview at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Lebanon. (Grace Kassab/The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Thursday Lebanon’s Independence Day requires a commitment to having the state as the sole authority, during his conversation with the country’s top officials.

According to his office, Hariri contacted President Michel Sleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri, Army Gen. Jean Kahwagi and Internal Security Forces Chief Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi for the occasion of the 69th anniversary of Independence Day.

Hariri, however, did not contact Prime Minister Najib Mikati. The opposition has declared a boycott of the Cabinet as well as parliamentary work that includes ministers, in the aftermath of the assassination of intelligence chief Wissam al-Hasan.

During his phone conversations with the officials, Hariri “emphasized that this major national occasion requires us all to uphold the sole authority of the state and its constitutional, military and security institutions.”

He added that such a commitment aims at preserving the unity and integrity of the nation as well as ensuring the security of all Lebanese in the face of the challenges and difficulties that beset Lebanon and the Arab region in general.

The March 14 coalition announced a total boycott of the government last month, accusing Mikati’s Cabinet of providing cover for the car bomb that killed Hasan.

The opposition has also called for the resignation of the Cabinet and the formation of a “neutral, salvation” government.

Hariri’s Future Movement has also rejected the president’s call for dialogue on condition that Mikati steps down.





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