Lebanese President Michel Aoun, right, walks next to Lebanese Parliament speaker Nabih Berri, left, as they leave Parliament, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
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President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri engaged in fresh mud-slinging Monday over a decree promoting a number of Army officers, marking a serious escalation in a monthlong standoff that threatens to throw the country into political turmoil and paralyze the functioning of state institutions.Aoun Monday showed no signs of relenting on his tough stance on the decree row, and instead implicitly reiterated his call on Berri to resort to the judiciary to contest the dispute.In a statement issued by his media office, Aoun blasted the prolongation of the decree crisis, saying he was ready to accept the judiciary's decision even if it would revoke the decree. The decree, signed last month by Aoun, Prime Minister Saad 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 the finance minister's signature in order to be implemented, while Berri insists that the decree should have been inked by Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil, a top political aide to the speaker.Berri appealed to Aoun to back down on the decree.
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