BEIRUT — Prime Minister Najib Mikati has said he will not convene a meeting of his cabinet until a solution has been found to the differences among its members over the 2020 Beirut port explosion investigation led by Tarek Bitar.
Here’s what we know:
• “The security situation is stable and there is no fear. But politically, I will not convene a cabinet meeting until I have found a solution to the problem. And I do not wish to provoke anyone,” Mikati said in an interview with the Al-Modon news site on Sunday.
• The premier’s comments came four days after a demonstration organized by Hezbollah and the Amal Movement to denounce what they call the “politicization” of Bitar’s port blast probe ended in violent clashes, leaving seven dead and more than 30 wounded.
• Twice last week meetings of Mikati’s cabinet were derailed by deep disagreements over the blast investigation and Bitar. A meeting on Tuesday was adjourned after Culture Minister Mohammad Mortada criticized Bitar’s investigation and insisted on the need for cabinet to take a position on the probe’s future, threatening the resignation of its Shiite ministers if it failed to do so. A cabinet meeting then scheduled for Wednesday was also postponed.
• In his comments to Al-Modon, Mikati, however, said he would not intervene in Bitar’s probe. “I will not interfere in the work of justice. ... I informed everyone by telling them that I will not interfere in the work of the investigating judge at the Court of Justice Tarek Bitar,” he said. “There are laws and a constitution that we cannot override. The current dispute can only be resolved by justice,” the prime minister added.
• On the matter of the gunfight at the Hezbollah and Amal demonstration, Mikati in the interview pleaded for a “political solution.” “What happened must be dealt with. And the solution is political. As long as I am here, I will not allow someone to be the victim of injustice,” he said, adding, “Lebanon is the country of balances, and everyone must respect that.”
• Lastly, the premier made clear that his government’s resignation “is not envisaged.” “We cannot abandon the country in these circumstances and cause a total vacuum in power. We have clear political missions: establish an economic reform plan and organize legislative elections on the dates scheduled. I am committed to respecting these two missions,” he said.
BEIRUT — Prime Minister Najib Mikati has said he will not convene a meeting of his cabinet until a solution has been found to the differences among its members over the 2020 Beirut port explosion investigation led by Tarek Bitar.Here’s what we know: • “The security situation is stable and there is no fear. But politically, I will not convene a cabinet meeting until I have...