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Hariri: Lebanese Army Carrying Out Transparent Probe into Death of Detainees | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Prime Minister Saad Hariri chairs a cabinet session on Wednesday July 12, 2017 at the Grand Serail. Dalati and Nohra photo

Beirut- Prime Minister Saad Hariri reiterated on Wednesday the importance of fully supporting the Lebanese army, which is accomplishing “its mission of fighting terrorism and preserving the security of the citizens and stability in all regions.”

“A transparent investigation is being carried out by the army to clarify the circumstances of the death of some persons it had detained,” Hariri said in reference to four Syrians who died in army custody late last month.

A Lebanese military prosecutor ordered forensics to examine the bodies of the four Syrians following calls for an inquiry by rights groups, a judge said over the weekend.

The four, who the army said had died due to chronic illness, were among several hundred people arrested in a raid at Syrian refugee encampments in the Arsal area of northeastern Lebanon.

Hariri, who chaired a cabinet session on Wednesday, also spoke about coordination between the ministries.

He said: “It is necessary to focus on completing work in all ministries and speeding up the formalities of the citizens.”

He added that any achievement in a ministry is an achievement for the government as a whole, pointing out that specialized ministerial meetings might be held to discuss the socio-economic situation.

He also called for action to reduce the deficit “by reducing expenditures and securing new revenues, which will positively reflect on the general economic situation.”

The cabinet discussed a 60-item agenda and approved most of it, particularly the item on renewable energy. But the ministers were divided on the mechanism for administrative appointments which forced a postponement on the subject.

Acting Minister of Information, Minister of Social Affairs, Pierre Abou Assi, said after the session that there were differences in views and this is normal in any democracy.

Each minister expressed his point of view, he told reporters.

But all ministers want the appointments mechanism to work because the vacuum in state institutions has worsened “and we are keen on the work of these institutions and on filling the void in the best and promptest way,” Assi added.