Druze Leader, Hariri Meet on Diffusing Tensions

Published February 3rd, 2019 - 10:00 GMT
Progressive Socialist Party chief ex-MP Walid Jumblat (Twitter)
Progressive Socialist Party chief ex-MP Walid Jumblat (Twitter)

Progressive Socialist Party chief ex-MP Walid Jumblat will hold an emergency meeting Sunday of his Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc, the PSP said, amid rising tensions between the Druze leader and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The meeting will be held at 5:00 pm and will include remarks to the press by Jumblat, the PSP said in a statement.

Tensions had escalated over the past hours between Jumblat and Hariri after Internal Security Forces chief Maj. Gen. Imad Othman, who is close to the PM, suspended five ISF officers over corruption suspicions, including one who is close to Jumblat.

“They are taking revenge on us by removing Colonel Wael Malaeb, but they are impotent in the face of the chaos at the airport and the conflicting interests,” Jumblat has tweeted.


Shortly after Hariri’s new government was formed on Thursday, Jumblat congratulated the premier in a tweet but pledged to “oppose” any measures that might lead to squandering public funds.

“Sheikh Saad, congratulations on the government after the strenuous efforts. We will help you within the principles that we believe in in our party and we will oppose any wrongdoing against public money and the national resources, as has happened at the Deir Amar (power plant) and the Tripoli refinery,” Jumblat tweeted.

“By the way, my remarks today about the delay of the government were a mere assumption and there is no need to turn them into a point of contention. What's important is the future,” the PSP leader added.

Media reports said tensions had erupted between the two leaders after Jumblat rejected a request by Hariri to cede the industry ministry to facilitate the formation of the new government. Hariri was also reportedly infuriated after Jumblat gave an interview to an Emirati newspaper that is hostile towards Hariri in which he expected that the PM would not be able to form a government anytime soon.

The new government was however formed on Thursday after eight months of deadlock.


This article has been adapted from its original source.

Naharnet © 2019

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