Lebanon: Minister quits amid growing calls to replace current cabinet
Lebanon's Tourism Minister Farid Khazen announced his resignation Thursday, charging that Premier Karami's government is incapable of handling the "dangerous situation" resulting from ex-Premier Rafic Hariri's assassination. "The current government is incapable of resolving the dangerous situation in the country," said Khazen in a statement.
He added his decision was "in line with my convictions and out of an obligation to the nation." The resignation came amid mounting calls for the entire government to resign following Hariri's killing.
Ex-Premier Salim el Hoss said in a statement from his hospital bed in the American University Hospital (AUH) that the government must clear the way for a new cabinet to handle the investigation into Hariri's assassination and conduct credible parliamentary elections in spring.
A Sunni preacher called in a Friday sermon from a Sidon Mosque for President Lahoud to take "drastic measures within the caliber of Rafic Hariri's death" to allay public fears ignited by the assassination on Monday.
Meanwhile, Presiden Lahoud on Friday offered sympathy to the family of Hariri. The President, whose personal relations with Hariri were continuously strained since his elections for the top post in 1998, offered his condolences to Hariri's wife and sons, Bahaa and Saad, in the presence of ex-Finance Minister Fouad Siniora.
Brig. Gen. Mustafa Hamdan, commander of the presidential army brigade in charge of Lahoud's security, accompanied the president on the trip. (albawaba.com)