Lebanon’s president refuses to order Beirut blast-related dismissals

President Michel Aoun of Lebanon will not sign a decree that dismisses three officials charged in an investigation into the Beirut port explosion of August 4 that killed more than 190 people.

The Lebanese Presidential Office issued a statement on Monday, saying that there will not be such an order unless an official decision is made by a cabinet supported by the majority of ministers.

Judicial experts say a dismissal decree signed by the president, the prime minister and relevant ministers is usually sufficient for an official to be removed.

The director of land and maritime transport, Abdel Hafiz Kaissi, the port’s director-general, Hassan Koraytem, and the customs chief, Badri Daher, are in custody over the massive blast.

The investigation has found that the blame rests mostly on Daher regarding a shipment of ammonium nitrate fertilizer that authorities say caught fire and led to the fatal explosion.

The probe has so far yielded the arrest of at least 25 individuals. It has yet to make public any of its findings.

Lebanon has not formed a government since Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib announced his resignation in late September amid a deadlock over the government formation in the crisis-hit country.

The resignation came almost a month after Adib was appointed by the president to form a new government.

Lebanon is currently mired in its worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history.


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