Suleiman Asks Rifi to Pull ISF Out of Telecom Building, Mulls Prosecution’s Involvement
President Michel Suleiman has reportedly ordered Internal Security Forces chief Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi to clear a building affiliated with the Telecommunications Ministry from his men after they prevented Caretaker Telecom Minister Charbel Nahhas from entering the facility on Thursday.
Sources close to Suleiman told several Beirut dailies published Friday that after the president studied the issue legally and constitutionally, he told Rifi to abide by Caretaker Interior Minister Ziad Baroud’s order to pull his forces out of the building in Beirut’s al-Adliyeh area.
“A director-general should comply with the decisions” of Baroud “who is the man in charge of the ministry,” they said.
Baroud absolved himself from his duties on Thursday after the ISF led by Rifi failed to carry out his orders to withdraw from the facility and allow access to Nahhas.
Nahhas, accompanied by a number of technicians, attempted to access the building to dismantle equipment donated to Lebanon for a third GSM network.
Suleiman holds onto the law and the authority of the minister on issues linked to state-run authorities and institutions, the Baabda palace sources said.
The president also held a telephone conversation with caretaker Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar. He inquired him whether it is possible for the public prosecutor’s office to deal with the incident at the telecom ministry building.
Suleiman and Najjar discussed specifically Rifi’s rejection to abide by Baroud’s orders.