NNA - Prime Minister Hassan Diab received today Interior Minister Mohammad Fahmi, Secretary General of the Higher Relief Commission, Major General Mohammad Kheir, Mayor of Beirut Jamal Itani, and Chairman of Beirut Traders Association Nicolas Chammas, in the presence of PM’s Advisor Khodor Taleb, to discuss the damage caused by the riots in Beirut.
PM Diab said: "Vandalized institutions, shops and public and private properties, in Beirut, and yesterday in Tripoli, were a disaster. A malevolent, a criminal has executed a crazy decision to destroy people's properties. He has executed his crime publicly, not ashamed of what he has done.
What happened, whether in Beirut or in Tripoli, is an insult to the country, an insult to official institutions, an insult to citizens, and an insult to the state. What happened should not simply pass on the nod. Everyone involved in the process of destruction, whatever his role, must be arrested and held accountable today, so that he understands that the country is not loose.
The scene is very hurtful. Harmful to the eyes, to the heart and to national belonging.
I insist on pursuing this matter through to the end, and on putting an end to all systematic destruction that is taking place. The judiciary is responsible; security services are responsible. The whole country is responsible for protecting people. I will ask each day about the course of investigations, and how many people have been arrested.
I know that this does not restore people's losses, but this is where the compensation begins, i.e. the moral before the material compensation. We must help together reduce the scale of the disaster that occurred. "
After the meeting, Mayor of Beirut Municipality, Jamal Itani said that he responded to the invitation of PM Hassan Diab to discuss the recent developments that took place in Beirut and in Beirut’s commercial center, and to set up a compensation mechanism which will be submitted by the Higher Relief Commission to the Council of Ministers, in order to find a remedy to what happened and prevent it from happening again.
Itani stressed that similar incidents will not be allowed to happen again, because such incidents will affect the economy not only in Beirut but all over Lebanon.
He further added that the meeting took stock at the cooperation with Beirut Municipality and at activating the role of the Municipality’s guards, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior.
For his part, the Chairman of Beirut Traders Association Nicolas Chammas deplored the commercial sector’s situation due to the acts of vandalism in Beirut Down Town, stating that Major General Khair has estimated the losses at 700 million pounds. Chammas assured Prime Minister Diab that such violations will not simply pass on the nod, with aggressors to be held accountable. He further added that PM Diab is counting on the reopening of the airport at the beginning of next month to contribute to the economic recovery in the capital, specifically in the center of Beirut. Chammas has finally declared that depositors’ funds were safely and securely held in commercial banks and in the Central Bank, with the State’s guarantee, for this issue is extremely important to control the dollar’s exchange rate and restore confidence in the Lebanese economy, internally and externally.—PM Press Office