BEIRUT: The US Embassy in Lebanon warned that “any attempt to exploit the tragic incident that took place in Kabreshmoun on June 30 to promote political objectives must be rejected.”
The statement comes during Lebanon’s escalating political crisis, which has been ongoing for more than two months.
The crisis has peaked during the last 48 hours, where efforts aimed at reaching a political consensus on the judicial measures for the Kabreshmoun shooting have failed.
There was open confrontation between the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), with the PSP including the Lebanese President Michel Aoun and the judiciary in its accusations.
“The US supports a fair and transparent judicial review free of any political influence. We clearly expressed to the Lebanese authorities that they are expected to handle the incident in a manner that achieves justice without inciting sectarian and regional conflicts with political backgrounds,” said the US Embassy.
“Lebanon’s stability is a priority to us,” said Britain’s Ambassador to Lebanon Chris Rampling as he visited Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
“We urge everyone to focus on economic development at this stage. The adoption of the state budget was an important first step but still needs a lot of work,” Rampling added.
The shooting took place when the head of the FPM, Gebran Bassil, visited the site of massacres between Christians and Druze during the civil war.
Supporters of the PSP staged protests to prevent the visit, triggering a shootout after the arrival of the minister of the displaced, Saleh Al-Gharib. Two of his bodyguards were killed.
Minister Al-Gharib is a member of the PSP’s rival party and an ally of Hezbollah and the Syrian regime.
The incident received significant political and judicial attention, which has paralyzed the government for over a month. The PSP accused the FPM of wanting to eliminate it by pressuring the military judiciary to manipulate the investigation.
Aoun affirmed his “commitment to the judiciary, which has the authority to act firmly and punish according to the laws,” as he received a youth delegation on Wednesday.
Berri said that he “will not allow anything that could divide the Lebanese people,” and that “political, security and financial stability is required from everyone, as international financial institutions are concerned about Lebanon’s situation.
“A complete and comprehensive reconciliation is necessary to hold government sessions. There is no need for panic as it will vanish with the government’s first session.”
An international report on Lebanon’s financial classification is expected to be issued on Aug. 23, with the Lebanese Central Bank Gov. Riad Salameh rejecting suggestions that the country is bankrupt.