Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai speaks with Lebanon's Grand Mufti Abdel-Latif Derian during a discussion at the Religious Summit conference in Bkirki, Monday, March 30, 2015. (The Daily Star/Maronite Patriarchate Bkirki, HO)
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Signs of a new crack within Lebanon's Cabinet emerged Monday with a Hezbollah minister criticizing premier Tammam Salam's speech at the annual Arab League summit, arguing it justified the "aggression on Yemen and its people".The plea by Muslim and Christian religious leaders coincided with Speaker Nabih Berri's call for a new Parliament session Thursday to elect a president, amid signs that the session was doomed to fail over a lack of quorum like the previous 20 attempts, heralding a prolonged presidential vacuum.Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan, one of two ministers representing Hezbollah in the 24-member government, said Salam's speech at the Arab summit did not represent Lebanon's official position and was not discussed by the Cabinet. He said he would raise Hezbollah's objections to Salam's speech at the next Cabinet session scheduled for Thursday. Since its formation over a year ago, the Cabinet has been riven by political wrangling that has crippled its work and reduced its productivity.At the end of their two-day summit held in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh Sunday, Arab leaders voiced support for the Saudi-led military intervention against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen and agreed to create a joint Arab force.
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