Al-Rahi Urges 'Honest Dialogue' among Bickering Politicians
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday urged “honest dialogue” among bickering politicians in Lebanon, amid an ongoing spat between President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri.
“Political officials do not dare to sit together face to face to engage in honest and confident dialogue. They blow trivial issues out of proportion,” al-Rahi lamented in his Sunday Mass sermon.
“Inflexibility in no-confidence stances and remote discourse through communication technologies are poisoning the atmosphere,” the patriarch decried.
He warned that such a performance “obstructs resolutions, aggravates economic paralysis and slashes job opportunities and production, as people reel under their needs, poverty and demands.”
“Only honest dialogue, even if its content does not suit our partisan interests, can push political and national life forward,” al-Rahi urged.
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.