World Bulletin / News Desk
Lebanon's defence minister extended the term of the army chief on Wednesday to avoid a vacuum in military leadership at a time when the country is facing violence linked to Syria's war and political paralysis.
Tensions in the government of the small Mediterranean state have fostered instability at a time of economic slowdown, militia violence and a Syrian refugee influx.
Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam has been unable to form a cabinet since March when his predecessor quit, and parliamentary elections have been delayed until November 2014.
The extension by two years of Army Chief Jean Kahwaji's posting as well as that of Army Chief of Staff General Walid Salman is a significant attempt to avoid further disarray, defence ministry sources said.
"Lebanon has stopped several attempts to ignite strife on the domestic scene but no crucial decision has been taken by the military establishment," caretaker Defence Minister Fayez Ghosn said in a speech to officers, according to the Lebanese army website.
"The ghosts of the civil war hover over our heads and threaten the future of our country," he said, referring to Lebanon's 15-year civil war which ended in 1990.
The extension, which takes Kahwaji's term beyond his retirement age of 60, was made by decree. Such steps are supposed to be approved by parliament, but parliament failed to meet this month - another victim of the political stalemate.Last Mod: 01 Ağustos 2013, 10:23