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Lebanon's Aoun urges stability, forgiveness after protests
January 30, 2018 | 7:36 PM
by Reuters
Cars pass near burning tires in Beirut, Lebanon January 29, 2018. Photo - Reuters/Mohamed Azakir
 
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Beirut: President Michel Aoun on Tuesday called for stability in Lebanon and urged forgiveness after a political row involving his son-in-law triggered street protests.

Supporters of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a long time political adversary of Aoun, set ablaze tyres and blocked roads on Monday in protest against comments made by Aoun's son-in-law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil who had called him "a thug".

"What happened on the ground is a big mistake based on a mistake," Aoun said in a statement. "I forgive all those who assaulted me and my family, and I look to those who insulted each other to forgive each other," he said.

In one incident on Monday, gunfire erupted near offices of Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) east of Beirut. The FPM and Berri's Amal movement traded blame over the incident.



Bassil expressed regret for his remarks in an interview with Al Akhbar newspaper on Monday, but this did little to ease fury in the Berri camp, which said he had crossed "red lines".

Political tensions between Berri and Aoun have been escalating since December when Aoun signed a decree promoting dozens of army officers without the signature of Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, a member of Amal and one of his closest aides.

Berri says Aoun exceeded his constitutional powers. Aoun says he did not. Lebanon is due to hold a parliamentary election in May, its first since 2009.

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