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Berri urges Lebanese rivals to reach consensus

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri arrives at the National Dialogue session held at Baabda Palace, Lebanon, on Monday, June 25, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Lebanese rivals should resume dialogue to reach a consensus over their disagreements, House Speaker Nabih Berri said Tuesday.

“We should reach consensus over disputed matters as we can’t eliminate each other,” Berri said during a lunch banquet to honor Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan in Ain al-Tineh.

Representatives of the March 14-led opposition participated in Berri’s lunch banquet after the speaker canceled a parliamentary session scheduled at the same date to listen to a speech by the Armenian president.

Addressing Lebanese political figures who attended the speaker’s lunch, Berri said reaching a breakthrough out of Lebanon’s deadlock should not hinge on the Syrian crisis developments.

“We should reach an understanding without waiting to see what will happen in Syria,” said Berri.

Lebanon’s situation deteriorated to near crisis after the Oct. 19 assassination of top security official Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan. The opposition, who accuses Syria’s Assad of being behind the killing and holds Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Cabinet responsible, declared a boycott of government and any parliamentary activity involving it ever since.

Sharp differences have emerged between the March 8 and March 14 camps over Syria’s crisis ever since the uprising against Assad broke out in March 2011. While the Hezbollah led-March 8 group steadfastly defends Assad’s regime, the March 14 coalition have repeatedly defended those fighting it.

Also addressing the gathering, Sargsyan voiced fear over the possible negative repercussions of the regional developments over Lebanon.

“We will not allow anyone to destabilize Lebanon,” Sargsyan said. “The main challenge is to spread peace and stability in the world, in particular, stopping violence,” he added.

Sargsyan arrived in Beirut on Monday on a three-day official visit to meet senior Lebanese officials.

 

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