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An escalating rift between President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri over the signing of a controversial decree promoting a number of Army officers flared up into a full-blown crisis Tuesday, threatening to plunge the country into deep political uncertainty and paralyze the work of state institutions. Responding to Aoun's statement that the decree promoting a number of Army officers who served under Aoun in the late 1980s when he was the Army commander required the signing of the president and the prime minister only, Berri warned that overriding the finance minister's approval would place the Taif Accord on equal power-sharing between Muslims and Christians into jeopardy.Berri, who last week said he left it to the president to tackle the decree dispute, changed his mind Tuesday and decided to respond to what was seen as "escalatory" views expressed by Aoun on the decree.Berri, who earlier in the day called Aoun to congratulate him on Christmas, again left it to the president to tackle the decree dispute.
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