Berri Denies Consulting Any of his Allies, Says he ‘Lost a Minister But Won Lebanon’إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Speaker Nabih Berri has unveiled that he decided to give up a Shiite minister from his share in the new cabinet without consulting any of his allies despite media reports contradicting his remarks.
“I got the idea on my way to the presidential palace. Eventually I lost a minister but won Lebanon,” Berri told An Nahar daily on Tuesday.
He also told As Safir newspaper that he did not consult any of his allies in the March 8 forces on his decision to give up a Shiite share “as the only salvation method.”
Berri’s move allowed the Sunni sect to get seven ministers instead of six. Faisal Karami who was strongly backed by March 8 became the seventh minister.
The cabinet formation efforts would have been stalled, hadn’t he made such an initiative, the head of the Amal movement said. “I had always said that the party involved in the formation of the government is a single team and should not bicker over shares.”
He told As Safir that his move is the “true political interpretation” of his words.
When asked about the divided Karami family, which is now represented in the cabinet by Faisal and Ahmed Karami, Berri said: “We are from the same national line.”
Media reports said that Berri decided to visit Baabda ahead of the cabinet announcement on Monday after President Michel Suleiman, who was holding talks with PM Najib Miqati, informed him in a telephone conversation that the issue was urgent.
They said Berri immediately went to Baabda and joined the two officials. According to As Safir, Miqati had proposed a 24-member lineup which was disliked by the speaker.
Berri informed Suleiman and Miqati that he rejects to approve a government that contradicts the previously reached agreement to form a cabinet made up of 30 ministers, it said.
Sources close to the March 8 forces also said that Berri informed Miqati that he rejects a de facto cabinet and will make a statement as soon as he forms his new government.
He then left the meeting. But Berri decided to give up the sixth minister in favor of the Sunnis after he consulted with Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah upon his return from Baabda to Ain el-Tineh, the sources said.