'No breakthrough on the horizon': Berri mourns dialogue initiative


Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has called those who rejected his call for dialogue to propose an alternative, "if they have one."

In remarks published Tuesday in al-Joumhouria newspaper, Berri announced the end of his initiative. "I no longer have anything to propose," he said. "Do they have an alternative?"

Berri had called last month on the heads of parliamentary blocs and political parties to participate in “dialogue in parliament for seven days at most in September” before going to “open-ended sessions to elect a president.”

"Whether we reached an agreement or not through dialogue, in both cases open-ended election sessions would have followed," Berri said. "But I'm afraid some do not want for this crisis to end," he added.

Most of the opposition MPs, including the Lebanese Forces, the Kataeb Party and the tajaddod bloc rejected Berri's initiative as they refused to engage in dialogue to agree on a president before proceeding with a vote, preferring to rely on the democratic process.

Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil has been vague about whether the FPM will take part in dialogue or not. He said he supports dialogue but on certain conditions.

“It is a pity that some are deliberately obstructing all paths to a domestic solution," Berri said. "If this doesn't change, I don't expect any breakthroughs on the horizon."

Crisis-hit Lebanon has been without a president since Michel Aoun's term ended in October last year, with neither of the two main blocs -- Hezbollah and its opponents -- having the majority required to elect one.

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