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Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri met Prime Minister Najib Mikati at his residence in Ain al-Tineh on Monday, but no statements were issued following the meetings according to local reports.

Berri also met separately President Michel Suleiman at the Baabda palace.

The meetings are about the crisis facing the cabinet following the dispute over administrative appointments that took place during the last cabinet session. Mikati reportedly decided not hold any more cabinet sessions before the issue is resolved and until the parties agree on a mechanism to revive the productivity of the government.

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun accused Prime Minister Najib Mikati of abusing his powers, saying the Constitution stipulated that ministers should meet on a regular basis, As-Safir reported Monday.

“I haven’t intervened to resolve the Cabinet issue because, first, no one asked me to and, second, I feel the issue is in principle deliberate and exaggerated,” Berri told As-Safir daily in an interview published Monday.

“The reasons for the problem over the appointments are not convincing,” Berri added.

Meanwhile, Suleiman, who also spoke to As-Safir in an interview Monday, said the issue’s resolution lies in adhering to principles and applying the law.

Aoun accused Suleiman and Mikati of taking turns in confronting him .He told As Safir :

“The president and the prime minister are taking turns at confronting me … as if there is a deal between them against me,” Aoun said.

“We will not succumb to manipulation or intimidation and I advise everyone not to play this game with us,” he added.

Sectarianism

March 14 MP Ahmad Fatfat commented Monday on the cabinet crisis and said the reasons behind the government shutdown were not only political, but sectarian.

“There are political and sectarian reasons behind the shutdown,” Fatfat told Voice of Lebanon radio station.

He accused Aoun and Prime Minister Najib Mikati of attempting to boost their popular credentials with Christians and Sunnis, respectively.

Update:

Following his meeting with Speaker Nabih Berri on Monday, Prime Minister Najib Mikati said he will call on the cabinet to convene if it is “confirmed that the session will be productive,” according to a statement issued by Berri’s press office.

“I informed Berri of [the situation], and he is taking his time before acting upon this matter ,” the PM was quoted as saying.

The statement also reported that “until now, Berri has not been convinced of the necessity to intervene to resolve the crisis.”

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