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Lebanon News

Policy statement should focus on security: Berri

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri arrives at the National Dialogue session held at Baabda Palace, Lebanon, on Monday, June 25, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The new Cabinet's policy statement should focus on the country’s security crisis and avoid controversial political issues, Speaker Nabih Berri said in remarks published Thursday.

“The government has a three-month lifespan. It should prioritize the security situation because policy statements of previous governments focused on political issues and there isn't enough time to deal with them,” Berri told Al-Akhbar daily.

Berri's comments were made aboard the plane that carried him from Tehran to Albania, in the first official visit of a Lebanese politician to Tirana.

The speaker said that he has reached an agreement with Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt to share "a common vision" on the policy statement.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam chaired for the first time Wednesday a meeting for the ministerial committee tasked with drafting the policy statement.

The 24-member Cabinet has yet to finalize the policy statement so that it can go to Parliament for a vote of confidence. The policy statement has been a point of controversy, with Hezbollah insisting on keeping the tripartite formula "the Army, the people and the resistance," while March 14 wants to include the Baabda Declaration.

Berri also commented on the double suicide bombing that targeted the Iranian Cultural Center in the Beirut’s southern suburb of Bir Hassan, killing eight people and wounding 128 others.

“The government should take a united stance on what happened because terrorism is targeting both the March 8 and 14 coalitions,” Berri said.

He also said he expected the March 14 camp to be more encouraged in confronting the wave of bombings that has rocked Lebanon following the formation of a new government, which has "improved conditions" for such a confrontation.

Wednesday’s bombing comes amid a series of blasts targeting predominantly-Shiite civilian areas where Hezbollah enjoys wide support. Most have been claimed by Qaeda-linked groups seeking to retaliate against the party for its role in the Syrian war.

 

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