Defiant Berri says dialogue to happen 'sooner or later' and he will chair it


"Dialogue is the key to the presidential vote and will happen sooner or later," said Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri who accused the Lebanese Forces of obstructing the presidential dialogue.

Berri told al-Joumhouria newspaper, in remarks published Tuesday, that he will definitely be the one chairing the dialogue in Beirut, after local media reports said earlier this week that France is considering holding a presidential dialogue for Lebanese parties in Paris.

Crisis-hit Lebanon has been without a president since Michel Aoun's term ended in October 2022, with neither of the two main blocs -- Hezbollah and its opponents -- having the majority required to elect one.

"It would be better to hold the dialogue in Beirut," Berri said.

In remarks published in the Kuwaiti al-Jarida newspaper, Berri blamed the LF for obstructing the presidential dialogue. He said all the other parties are ready to participate, including the Free Patriotic Movement, adding that he hopes that the Quintet would succeed in convincing all parties to participate.

Berri is expected to meet Wednesday with French President's Special Envoy to Lebanon, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who arrived Tuesday in Beirut on a diplomatic visit in a bid to break the presidential deadlock.

The ambassadors of France, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United States had said in a joint statement earlier this month that "Lebanon cannot afford to wait another month" without a president, stressing that consultations are needed to end the current political stalemate.

"Those who refuse to participate in (a presidential) dialogue are responsible of the consequences," Berri was earlier quoted as saying.

Comments 1
Missing HellAndWaite 28 May 2024, 16:10

Better to wait for Berri to die of old age than to again submit to Islamist Adventurers.

Or maybe Rafic Hariri's fate awaits him, if the other side concludes, as did Hezbollah, that political speed is more important than upholding teachings of the Quran.