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The Daily Star
FRIDAY, 18 APR 2014
09:03 AM Beirut time
17 °C
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Lebanon News
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Next assassination could target Shiite: Berri
File photo of Speaker Nabih Berri.
File photo of Speaker Nabih Berri.
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BBEIRUT: A possible assassination attempt could target a Shiite dignitary for the purpose of provoking strife in the country, following the recent killing of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s adviser, Speaker Nabih Berri said in remarks published Tuesday.

The speaker also warned against the formation of a fait accompli government after hints by President Michel Sleiman that the formation of such a Cabinet is possible.

In remarks to As-Safir daily, the speaker described Lebanon as a “psychiatric hospital” and said a potential attempt on a Shiite figure's life would aim at implicating the Sunnis as avenging for the murder of former Finance Minister Mohammad Shatah.

Such an attack would deepen the divide between Muslims and give way for strife to destroy the country, Berri said.

Shatah, a moderate and prominent diplomat and economist, was killed in a car bomb in Downtown Beirut Friday along with seven others.

Berri also said he advised security officials in his Amal Movement to remain alert, fearing a security development.

The speaker also warned that the formation of a fait accompli Cabinet could obstruct holding the next presidential election on time.

“Any cabinet that violates national consensus, whether it was neutral or a March 14 collation government, would lead to dangerous repercussions,” he said.

“Such a unilateral choice [by Sleiman] would ultimately do away with the presidential elections,” Berri warned.

He said that “any attempt to impose a government on others would automatically lead to severing ties between rival parties.”

Berri added that the national interest requires a consensus on forming a Cabinet that includes all political groups and holding the elections on time.

Lebanon’s Cabinet formation process has been at a stalemate for over eight months in light of differences between rival political groups.

The March 8 alliance has repeatedly warned against the formation of a neutral Cabinet as aspired by the March 14 coalition and also against forming a fait accompli Cabinet.

The presidential election is due on May 2014.

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