Berri: Lebanese Should Avoid Differences to Confront 'Dangerous Situation'

Speaker Nabih Berri has urged the rival Lebanese parties to unite against the dangerous security situation in Lebanon, saying they should elect a president and activate state institutions.

“The situation is very dangerous particularly after what happened in Iraq” and the freeze in the rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, local newspapers quoted Berri as saying.

The Lebanese should “unite … and steer clear of differences,” the speaker, who is also the head of AMAL movement, told visiting officials on Tuesday.

“Muslims should become Christians and vice versa. Shiites should also become Sunnis and the other way around," he stressed.

The officials spoke to the dailies that hit the newsstands on Wednesday, saying Berri called for the swift “election of a president and the activation of institutions particularly the parliament and the government.”

The speaker's warning came after two suicide bombers struck different areas of the country in the past week.

The authorities have arrested several suspected terrorists in raids in Beirut and the eastern Bekaa Valley.

There are also mounting regional tensions over dramatic events in Iraq, where the al-Qaida splinter group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has seized large chunks of territory in the country's north and west.

The troubling security jitters in Lebanon come amid a political crisis that has left the country without a head of state.

President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended on May 25 after the rival March 8 and 14 camps failed to elect a successor.



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