Al-Rahi from Baabda: Seniority Decree Doesn't Need Finance Minister Signatureإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Friday supported President Michel Aoun's stance on a disputed decree that has sparked an unprecedented spat with Speaker Nabih Berri.
“The seniority decree is not related to finance... whereas the promotions decree entails financial obligations and requires the finance minister's signature,” said al-Rahi after talks with Aoun in Baabda.
“If there are good intentions, the problem can be solved in one meeting. This is what we are hoping for, because people and the country do not bear disputes and procrastination amid the pressing social and economic situations,” the patriarch added.
The Aoun-Berri spat broke out after the president and the premier signed a decree granting one-year seniority to a number of officers. Berri and Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil have insisted that the decree should have also carried the finance minister's signature.
Aoun and his aides have argued that the decree did not require Khalil's signature because it did not entail any “financial burden,” a point Berri and officials close to him have argued against.
Ain el-Tineh sources have meanwhile warned that the decree would tip sectarian balance in favor of Christians in the army's highest echelons.
The officers in question were undergoing their first year of officer training at the Military Academy when Syrian forces ousted Aoun’s military government from Baabda in 1990. They were suspended by the pro-Damascus authorities until 1993 before they resumed their officer training course as second-year cadets.