Senior Shiite cleric urges development in eastern Lebanon
Lebanon, Economics, 2/5/1998
The leader of Lebanon's largest religious community on Wednesday said government negligence towards impoverished areas in eastern Lebanon was in part responsible for tensions which led to armed clashes in the region this week.
Sheikh Mohammed Mehdi Shamseddine, head of the Higher Islamic Shiite Council, said he did not know the whereabouts of Sheikh Sobhi Tufeili but added he had "guarantees" that the government would not attack the besieged town of Brital, where Tufeili is believed to be hiding.
At a press conference held Wednesday, Shamseddine urged authorities to start implementing development projects in the Bekaa region, which he said is suffering from feelings of alienation resulting from years of neglect.
"Neglect (by the government) causes anger and alienation among the people," he said, adding that government apathy towards the region was behind social and political instability there.
Shamseddine, however, said he was opposed to the armed clashes that occurred between security troops and Tufeili's supporters over the past weekend. "I am for the prosecution of anyone who it appears has intentionally fired on army troops," he said.
Three Lebanese soldiers were among those killed in the fighting, in which a total of some 50 people were killed or wounded.
Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, spiritual leader of Lebanon's 1.3 million Shiites, also criticized the government's economic policies Wednesday.
"The government is asserting its authority through violence instead of justice," he said at a news conference.
Security Troops Clash With Tufeili Supporters; Tufeili on the Run
Iranian envoy meets Hrawi: No dialogue with Washington
Lebanese-Syrian peace tracks inseparable, Lebanese cleric says
Please add a link on your webiste pointing to ArabicNews.com and bookmark ArabicNews.com & subscribe to our daily email news bulletin.
| Advertise on ArabicNews.com. MyFlowers.com sold more than $2700 of flowers in one month advertising on ArabicNews.com! Make your company, and products a success. Special rate for new and small business. Inquire!Advertising Info