Naharnet

Al-Rahi Hails Aoun for Contacting Berri

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday lauded President Michel Aoun's initiative of holding phone talks with Speaker Nabih Berri following the political storm sparked by leaked remarks against the Speaker.

"We applaud the reconciliation initiatives, topped by the president's Thursday initiative to pacify the repercussions of this week's regrettable incidents," al-Rahi said in his Sunday Mass sermon, referring to the unrest that followed Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil's labeling of Berri as a "thug" in a leaked video.

The incidents "shocked the Lebanese and almost led to a sectarian strife and security chaos," the patriarch noted.

"He who apologizes upon erring has great ethics and he who forgives and reconciliates also has great ethics," al-Rahi went on to say.

He also hoped the "reconciliation" will entail "all disputed issues, especially those related to the work of institutions, reforms and economic growth."

Aoun and Berri agreed in their phone conversation to put an end to the war of words between their two parties and to hold a meeting on Tuesday. A reconciliation meeting was also held Friday in the town of Hadath, the scene of a major confrontation during unrest sparked by Bassil's remarks.

The unrest was trigerred by a leaked video showing Bassil calling Berri a "thug" and vowing to "break his head" during a closed meeting in Batroun.

The footage drew the ire of Berri's aides and political allies, who lashed out at Bassil, with Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil calling the foreign minister "lowly" and a "political dwarf."

Aoun and Berri were already at loggerheads over a disputed decree granting one-year's seniority to a number of army officers.

Source: Naharnet


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