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Berri: Contacts ongoing in Cabinet formation process

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri drinks water as he heads a Parliament session in Beirut, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri said Wednesday contacts are ongoing in the process of Cabinet formation to eliminate obstacles preventing the birth of a new government, a day after hopes emerged of a possible breakthrough in the nine-month stalemate.

Meanwhile, MP Ali Khreiss of Berri’s parliamentary bloc criticized the Future bloc for demanding a Cabinet with nonpartisan ministers, saying such remarks ruined the positive atmosphere surrounding the process.

“Contacts are ongoing with regards to the Cabinet formation and [attempting] to bridge the gap,” Berri said, quoted by MPs who attended the weekly meeting at his Beirut residence in Ain el-Tineh.

“We are positive and patient in the face of obstacles and we will keep trying till the end,” the speaker added, warning against the formation of a fait accompli Cabinet.

“The fait accompli Cabinet isolates everyone and will result in a negative atmosphere that will have repercussions on constitutional deadlines,” he said, referring to this year's presidential elections.

Former Minister Khalil Hrawi, a political adviser to President Michel Sleiman, told The Daily Star Tuesday that the atmosphere was positive toward forming an all-embracing 8-8-8 political government

He said that the final outcome of the government formation efforts would emerge in the next four days “because all the parties insist on facilitating the Cabinet [formation] and participating in the national accord project.”

The intensified activity on the Cabinet crisis comes against the backdrop of stern March 8 warnings of the grave consequences of a fait accompli government on the already deteriorating security situation in the country following a spate of car bombings that jolted Beirut in the past few weeks.

Khreiss, a lawmaker with the Development and Liberation bloc, said Future bloc’s statement “disturbed the positive atmosphere in the Cabinet formation process.”

Speaking after meeting with Berri, Khreiss also described the Future bloc’s remarks as negative.

In its statement earlier in the day, the Future bloc headed by MP Fouad Siniora insisted on their demand for a Cabinet with nonpartisan ministers and said disputed issues between rival groups should be dealt with at the National Dialogue table.

 

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Summary

Speaker Nabih Berri said Wednesday contacts are ongoing in the process of Cabinet formation to eliminate obstacles preventing the birth of a new government, a day after hopes emerged of a possible breakthrough in the nine-month stalemate.

Meanwhile, MP Ali Khreiss of Berri's parliamentary bloc criticized the Future bloc for demanding a Cabinet with nonpartisan ministers, saying such remarks ruined the positive atmosphere surrounding the process.

Speaking after meeting with Berri, Khreiss also described the Future bloc's remarks as negative.


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