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President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri Friday stuck to their guns in an escalating dispute over a decree promoting a number of Army officers – a row that has so far defied mediation efforts and is threatening to plunge the country into deep political uncertainty and paralyze the work of state institutions.Asked to comment on Hariri's mediation attempt in the decree crisis, Berri was quoted as saying: "When Hariri has an initiative for a solution, he will present it".As part of his mediation bid, Hariri, at the end of the Cabinet session Thursday, met separately at Baabda Palace with Aoun and Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil, a top political aide to Berri, whose signature is currently at the center of the decree crisis, and discussed with them ways to resolve the dispute. The decree, signed by Aoun, Hariri and Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf, sidestepping the finance minister's approval, has whipped up tensions between Aoun and Berri.Aoun has maintained that the decree is legitimate and constitutional and does not require Khalil's signature in order to be implemented, while Berri insists that the decree should have been inked by the finance minister.
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