Aridi: PSP to Resume Consultations with Factions over Jumblat's Initiative

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Transportation and Public Works Minister Ghazi al-Aridi stated that the Lebanese factions are “destined” to return to dialogue, reported the daily An Nahar on Monday.

He told the daily: “The Progressive Socialist Party delegation will resume its consultations with various powers over party leader MP Walid Jumblat's initiative to end the political crisis.”

The consultations were not held in the past ten days because the majority of the members of the national dialogue are abroad, noted the minister.

The meetings will be resumed soon and the PSP delegation will study the common points agreed upon by the various parties in order to reach a conclusion, he explained.

Jumblat is seeking to convince political foes to attend a new round of national dialogue under President Michel Suleiman as an icebreaker by launching the initiative to steer the country away from “the ghost of strife.”

The PSP delegation has so far met with Suleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri, Premier Najib Miqati, Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel, Hizbullah MPs, Mustaqbal bloc MPs, Lebanese Forces leader Smair Geagea, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, and the Jamaa Islamiya.

Aridi said: “We are bound by dialogue. Dialogue was present during the worst days of the civil war … but now there is no war”, so the lines of communication between the Lebanese should be open.

Asked if the resumption of the national dialogue is linked to the developments in Syria, he replied: “The boycott will remain if we hang on to this assumption.”

“None of us can influence the developments in Syria and no one can claim that they can predict when the crisis will end,” he added.

“One political camp was banking on the survival of the Syrian regime, by saying that the crisis will end in a matter of days,” said the minister.

“It was employing this prediction in order to bully the other camp in Lebanon. Would it employ the victory of the regime in order to seek revenge against the other?” he wondered.

“No one can seek revenge in Lebanon. The balance of power may be altered a little bit, but no one can eliminate the other,” remarked Aridi.

On the parliamentary electoral law, he said: “Discussions on the matter do not necessarily mean that an agreement will be reached.”

“Should the elections be thwarted because of a lack of agreement?” he asked.

“An agreement may not be reached in years, so should we leave the country without a new parliament and obstruct democracy?” he continued.

The government approved in August an electoral draft law based on proportional representation and 13 districts.

The March 14-led opposition and Jumblat's National Struggle Front voiced their rejection of the law.

The opposition said that it does not offer fair representation and only caters to the interests of the March 8 camp.

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