Berri speaks during a ceremony in Beirut, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. (The Daily Star/Hasan Ibrahim, HO)
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Bringing up the issue of normalizing ties with Syria might be aimed at distracting attention from the real obstacles to the formation of a new government, and even obstructing its formation, official sources said Friday.Further complicating the formation process is the highly divisive issue of normalizing political relations with the Syrian regime – brought up by Hezbollah and its allies recently ahead of the government's formation.Hariri and other Lebanese parties, namely the Lebanese Forces, staunchly oppose any contacts with the regime before a political settlement is reached to end the 7-year-old war in Syria.Hariri's comments appeared to have irked Berri, who advocates for restoring normal relations with Syria. Berri criticized Hariri's comment as "unrealistic" and "not useful," noting there are diplomatic relations between Lebanon and Syria and that Hariri's government had endorsed the appointment of Lebanon's ambassador to Damascus.Sources at Baabda Palace voiced fears that raising the issue of restoring political ties with the Syrian regime might further delay the government's formation, in addition to other obstacles.Caretaker Youth and Sport Minister Mohammad Fneish, one of two Hezbollah's ministers in Hariri's outgoing Cabinet, ruled out the government being formed anytime soon and defended the normalization of ties with Syria.
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