Lebanon Allows Emergency Use of Russian Vaccine

The Lebanese health ministry on Friday issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Russian anti-Covid vaccine Sputnik V. “The scientific and technical committee formed by caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan to look into the registration of vaccines submitted by the private sector has agreed to issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Sputnik V vaccine,” the National News Agency said.

“Its importation shall be limited to a licensed medicine warehouse,” NNA added. The move allows “the marketing of the vaccine according to applicable conditions and an agreement will be made with the importing companies to guarantee the registration of citizens who receive the vaccine,” the agency said.

The committee will study other requests for the importation of additional vaccines, including China’s Sinopharm, in its coming meetings, NNA added. Lebanon will this month launch its anti-Covid vaccination campaign with the arrival of vaccines from U.S. firm Pfizer.

Nasrallah Asks Army to Unveil Port Probe Result and Sawwan to Rectify Course

BERIUT, Jan 8, 2021:Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday called on the Army Command and the Internal Security Forces to announce the results of the probe into the catastrophic August 4 explosion at Beirut’s port. “The issue of the blast at the port should remain a national cause and should not be turned into a regional, sectarian or political cause. This is unethical and harm targeted everyone,” said Nasrallah in a televised speech focused on domestic issues.

“The port explosion killed 200 people, wounded thousands and affected the entire economy,” Nasrallah added, noting that the victims belonged to all sects. “Hizbullah will follow up on this case in the judiciary and politics and I pledge to the Lebanese and the families of the victims that we will insist on a fair and honest conclusion for the port file,” Nasrallah vowed. Lamenting that the port file was “used against Hizbullah and President Michel Aoun and his tenure from the very first moment,” Hizbullah’s leader called on the army and the ISF to “announce the probe's results” and to “say who brought the ammonium nitrate.”

“It seems that (lead judicial investigator) Judge (Fadi) Sawwan is only focusing on the administrative responsibilities,” Nasrallah lamented, calling on the judge to “tell the Lebanese what happened at the port.” “The way things are being addressed calls for suspicion,” Nasrallah decried. Commenting on Sawwan’s indictments against caretaker PM Hassan Diab and ex-ministers Ali Hassan Khalil, Ghazi Zoaiter and Youssef Fenianos, Nasrallah said the accusations and legal measures should not take sectarian balance into consideration.

“The course of the investigation must be rectified,” Nasrallah urged. Turning to the issue of the stalled cabinet formation process, Nasrallah denied accusations that Hizbullah is the "real obstructor." "It is clear that things are complicated regarding the government," he said. "It has been said that Hizbullah is the real obstructor of forming a new government in Lebanon because it was waiting for Trump's departure, but this is baseless," he added. He also revealed that Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri has told Hizbullah that he is not delaying the government out of "fear of sanctions" or because he is awaiting U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's term to begin.

"If some believe that the government in Lebanon is hinging on U.S.-Iranian negotiations, I tell them that this is out of the question," Nasrallah reiterated. "Do not wait for the U.S.-Iranian negotiations," he urged the Lebanese parties. "If some want to await Biden's administration, the formation of the government will take several months," Nasrallah cautioned. And noting that "the Americans are preoccupied with themselves," Nasrallah said "it is not fair to blame a single party for the government's delay." "Several parties have demands and fears," he pointed out. He accordingly called on all parties to "make use of time", "overcome foreign considerations, reconcile viewpoints and alleviate the confidence crisis." By Naharnet Newsdesk.