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French Version


Siniora stresses need to reinforce security

On Saturday, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora stressed the need to reinforce security in Lebanon and coordinate measures between the different security apparatuses to bring and end to the string of bombings currently plaguing the country.

Siniora was speaking during a meeting with Interior Minister Hassan Sabaa, Justice Minister Charles Rizk, Army Commander General Michel Suleiman and Internal Security Forces (ISF) Director-General Major General Ashraf Rifi the day after a car bomb rocked the Monnot district of Beirut on Friday night.

Siniora said Defense Minister Elias Murr could not attend the meeting because he was still recovering from his injuries following an attempt on his life two weeks ago.

He urged the top security officials present at the meeting to take strict measures to hunt down criminals and prevent any such operation in the future, adding that many countries suffer from such attacks, the most recent of which was in Egypt's Sharm al-Sheikh late on Friday night.

The prime minister voiced concerns after visiting the bomb site in Achrafieh that the crime scene might have been contaminated in the commotion that followed the blast.

"This was what happened after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri," he explained.

As a result, he has ordered the establishment of a mechanism by which similar crime scenes in the future can be preserved.

"We have a responsibility, and the citizens expect the government and its apparatuses to ensure their security," he said.

"I do not mean that such crimes might not happen in the future, as the criminal hands behind the series of blasts are still trying," said Siniora, explaining procedures should be put in place to better control the infiltration of certain sites and areas by the criminals behind the blasts.

When asked if Friday's explosion had been aimed at intimidating citizens, Siniora said had not been aimed at killing people but rather destabilizing confidence in the country and security and raising fear among the public.

Undoubtedly, the will of the Lebanese government and the Lebanese to promote confidence in the country and urge unity between all citizens will be the best way to respond to the criminals.

In another development, Siniora met with Higher Lebanese-Syrian Council secretary general Nasri Khouri. After the meeting, Khouri said the discussions had focused on Lebanese-Syrian relations.

Asked when the prime minister was planning to visit Damascus, Khouri said he might go after the vote of confidence later this week. "It will be a priority for both the Lebanese and Syrian sides," he said.

Beirut 25-07-2005
Redaction
The Daily Star



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