BEIRUT — Caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said Monday that he has "no personal differences" with Internal Security Forces (ISF) Director General Imad Osman, who is due to retire in January, amid media reports of a political tug-of-war between the two about their duties.
Mawlawi made those comments following a visit on Monday to Grand Mufti Abdel-Latif Derian, the highest Sunni authority in Lebanon. The caretaker Interior Minister is known to be close to caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, while General Osman is reputed to be a supporter of Saad Hariri, a main Sunni political leader and former prime minister.
Mawlawi said on Friday that he was ready to authorize proceedings against "all the corrupt" figures in the Lebanese government, with Osman having been the subject of at least one trial in recent years.
Visit to Mufti Derian
"We told Mufti Derian that we do not accept any disturbance in the administration of the ministry or in any of its affiliated departments," Mawlawi said on Monday, following a visit to the religious leader.
"This visit was planned in advance and the subject was fixed last week; it has nothing to do with new information in the press," he continued, quoted by various local media. "There is no personal dispute with the Director General of the Internal Security Forces. We carry out our mission within the specific frameworks and this relationship is governed by the laws."
Mufti Derian also recently acted as an intermediary between Mawlawi and Osman to prevent the crisis from escalating and amplifying the malaise in the Sunni community.
Saad Hariri reportedly contacted Derian, as well as the two concerned, to encourage them to settle their dispute away from the spotlight.
'An administration free of impurities'
"The will of the Lebanese and of all countries is to have a secure administration that assures citizens their rights, an administration free of any impurity or corruption," Mawlawi said after his visit to the mufti. "We will not accept anyone implicated or proven to be implicated in corruption back into the Lebanese administration."
"Concerning the Traffic and Vehicle Management Authority, we did our duty, based on what justice demanded," Mawlawi declared, in remarks reported by the state-run National News Agency. "As for the rumors concerning Hoda Salloum and others, we will not accept that a person implicated or whose involvement in corruption has been proven return to the Lebanese administration."
Dozens of civil servants working at the Vehicle Registration Center, including its director, Salloum, were arrested on corruption charges in recent months.
For its part, Dar al-Fatwa affirmed in a statement that "the Lebanese security forces play an important role in protecting national security and that of citizens."
"This requires cooperation and complementarity between all security apparatuses, first and foremost the army and the ISF," the statement continued, stressing in particular "the important role" of the Internal Security Forces (ISF).
"Everyone must help their leaders, officers and agents, under the instructions of the political authority concerned," Dar al-Fatwa continued. This political authority "must protect, support and preserve these institutions through patient management and constant work."
Mufti Derian is also due to receive Osman later on Monday, in the hope of arranging a meeting between the two men afterward.
BEIRUT — Caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said Monday that he has "no personal differences" with Internal Security Forces (ISF) Director General Imad Osman, who is due to retire in January, amid media reports of a political tug-of-war between the two about their duties.Mawlawi made those comments following a visit on Monday to Grand Mufti Abdel-Latif Derian, the highest Sunni...