Berri Says Cabinet Red Line, Lebanese Should not Wait for Solution from Abroad

Speaker Nabih Berri has reiterated that the government of Prime Minister Tammam Salam is a red line, urging Lebanon's rival officials not to wait for the Iran nuclear deal to resolve the country's crises.

“Bringing down the cabinet means abolishing the country. This cannot take place,” Berri told his visitors, according to al-Joumhouria daily published on Friday.

“The government is a red line, at least for me and for Hizbullah,” he said. “Our stance is serious. Let those who want to topple the government try” such a move.

Salam is carrying out his responsibilities to guarantee the continued functioning of the government, Berri added.

The speaker's visitors asked him about French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius' recent visit to Tehran and President Francois Hollande's announcement that he could travel to Lebanon in the coming months.

“The current stage is transitional,” he said. “The nuclear agreement between Iran and the West is still consolidating and two to three months are needed until solutions appear.”

“That's why we should resolve our issues in Lebanon, particularly urgent ones, so that we become ready to welcome solutions (from abroad) when they are ripe,” Berri added.

Baabda Palace has been vacant since President Michel Suleiman's six-year tenure ended in May last year.

Sources told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat on Thursday that Fabius urged his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani to try to resolve the presidential deadlock in Lebanon.

But the Iranian officials hinted that Tehran is not yet ready to use its influence in the region to interfere in the presidential crisis as long as the nuclear deal is still in its implementation stage

Fabius made a one-day visit to Tehran on Wednesday to relaunch diplomatic ties with Iran in the hope of boosting business in the country, following the key nuclear deal.

The July 14 deal between Iran and six world powers — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — is meant to curb Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions.

Berri did not want to comment on the waste crisis that has been gripping Lebanon since July 17, only expressing his “disgust” from the matter.

The crisis erupted when the Naameh landfill, which was meant to receive the waste of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, was closed.

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