BEIRUT, Oct 28 (KUNA) -- Lebanese Prime Minister Neguib Mikati has affirmed
that he will not step down as a result of a mounting rhetorical campaign
against his government from the March 14 movement of Saad Al-Hariri.
Mikati, in remarks published by the daily newspaper An-Nahar, on Sunday,
affirmed that he brushed aside the idea of resignation because such a move
might be interpreted "as an acknowledgement on my side of bearing
responsibility of the blood of the chief of the intelligence of the Internal
Security Force Brigadier General Wissam Al-Hassan."
He was alluding to assassination of Brig. Gen. Al-Hassan who was killed in
a bomb blast in Beirut on October 19. Following the bloody incident, the local
media reported that the premier tendered his resignation to President Michel
Suleiman, but the latter abstained from blessing it. Mikati made the move
after a new round of sharp criticisms and actions against his government,
including a bid by protestors to storm headquarters of the cabinet.
Mikati acknowledged that he had intended to step down, but rescinded the
decision as a result of the dramatic escalation of the campaign against him.
He also told An-Nahar that he opted to pursue services as head of the
government to avert a major political crisis in the country, already
overwhelmed with a high pile of problems.
The premier, a moderate politician from the northern city of Tripoli, has
declared a "policy of non-intervention" in the crisis in neighboring Syria.
This issue, along with several other questions, has created disputes between
him and Al-Hariri's movement.
Al-Hariri junior, who has charged the Syrian regime of masterminding
assassination of his father Rafic, in 2005, has declared support for the
Syrian opposition against Bashar Al-Assad's rule. (end)
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