Naharnet

Report: Ministerial Sources Anticipate Berri's Initiative

Ministerial sources following up closely on the contacts between political factions said they are waiting for the initiative expected to be kicked off by Speaker Nabih Berri to hold consultations to bring the rival politicians on the dialogue table either in Ain el-Tineh or in parliament.

The Speaker is thoroughly studying the initiative and has not failed to test the waters, exploring the reactions in advance, the sources told al-Joumhouria daily on Saturday.

Speaker Nabih Berri has been holding contacts with Lebanese political parties to revive the all-party talks that he had launched in 2006, reports say.

The speaker first chaired the dialogue in the spring of 2006. But the talks were interrupted by the summer war between Israel and Hizbullah.

The dialogue resumed in the fall of that year.

It was later chaired by former President Michel Suleiman, who in May last year oversaw a largely-boycotted national dialogue session at Baabda Palace before the end of his term.

The session called for continued talks on the country's defense strategy and stressed the importance of the implementation of the Taef accord.

The boycott came as a result of deteriorating ties between Suleiman and Hizbullah after the former president urged the party to avoid inflexible equations that hindered the birth of the government’s policy statement.

Suleiman has been hailed for leaving a mark in history after overseeing the agreement between the March 8 and 14 camps on the Baabda Declaration, which stressed Lebanon's dissociation policy from the Syrian war.

Despite its approval, Hizbullah has sent its fighters to Syria to help the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad against rebels seeking to topple him.


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