Rai receives Hariri in Bkirki, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said Tuesday that the re-election of Nabih Berri as Parliament's speaker was not up for discussion, signaling that the Future Movement's bloc would back a new four-year term for Berri after next month's parliamentary elections.Machnouk, a key figure in the Future Movement's parliamentary bloc, praised Berri, who has served as Parliament speaker since 1992 unchallenged, for his "nationalism and Arabism". Machnouk's remarks came two days after Hariri, asked by an MTV reporter whether he would back Berri's re-election after the May 6 polls, said: "Yes, I will".The battle for the speaker's position also comes as Berri's ties with FPM leader and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil have been strained, while his relationship with Aoun remains unstable.Hariri said projects to be funded with loans from the CEDRE conference would create some 900,000 job opportunities for the Lebanese.Ahead of the CEDRE conference, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides was set to arrive in Beirut Wednesday for talks with Berri, Hariri and other officials, focusing on the relations between the EU and Lebanon.
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