Berri Asks Hizbullah-Mustaqbal Dialogue Doubters to 'Relax'

Speaker Nabih Berri snapped back at politicians doubting the success of the dialogue underway between Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal movement, urging them to “relax.”

“The wheels are turning and they won't stop,” Berri said in remarks published in local newspapers on Monday.

“Both sides are aware of the importance of succeeding in what they are doing,” he said.

Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal representatives held their first long-awaited meeting in Ain al-Tineh last Tuesday under Berri's auspices.

The second round of talks is expected to be held on January 5 to discuss several issues, mainly the presidential deadlock and reducing Sunni-Shiite tension in the country.

Lebanon has been without a head of state since May when the term of Michel Suleiman ended.

Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps have thwarted the election of his successor.

But al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc leader MP Fouad Saniora has expressed doubt on the success of the talks.

The dialogue “won't lead to positive results,” he said on Saturday.

There had been recent reports that Saniora opposed the dialogue and tried on many occasions to convince al-Mustaqbal movement chief ex-PM Saad Hariri not to go ahead with the talks.

Berri's remarks to the newspapers on Monday were seen as a response to Saniora's doubts on the success of the meetings.

“Relax. Don't bother yourselves,” the speaker was quoted as saying.

Both Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal have “national responsibilities,” he said.



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