Berri: Taif accord is not a sacred document


Speaker Nabih Berri responded to Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt’s call for a new Taif accord by saying that the accord is not a sacred document.

Jumblatt said “ the Taif Accord is dead and Lebanon needs a new Taif Accord between the Sunnis and Shiites that is why we need a new settlement, ” but in an interview with An Nahar Newspaper published Saturday Berri disagreed by statting :“The problem is not between the Sunnis and Shiites but in all of the country and its people .”

Berri also disagreed with Lebanese groups that portray the Taif Accord as a “sacred” and untouchable agreement, stressing that the accord is neither “the Quran nor the Bible

March 14 MP Khodr Habib responded to Jumblatt on Thursday by saying that now is not the right time for amending the Taif Accord.

“There is an armed party treating the rest of the Lebanese people with arrogance,” Habib told Future TV in a possible reference to Hezbollah, adding that “it is not the right time to make any amendment to the Taif Accord.”

The Taif or (Taef ) Accord (Agreement) also known as “National Reconciliation Accord,” or “Document of National Accord”) was an agreement reached to provide “the basis for the ending of the civil war and the return to political normalcy in Lebanon.” Negotiated in Taif, Saudi Arabia, it was designed to end the decades-long Lebanese civil war, politically accommodate the demographic shift to a Muslim majority, reassert Lebanese authority in South Lebanon (then occupied by Israel), though the agreement set a time frame for Syrian withdrawal and stipulated that the Syrians withdraw in two years. It was signed on October 22, 1989 and ratified on November 4, 1989.

Habib also voiced hope Hezbollah positively responds to “Future Movement leader Saad Hariri’s speech, which stressed the importance of coexistence.”

Hariri said in his speech:

“To the Shiites in Lebanon, they say that the victory of the revolution in Syria will turn, in Lebanon, into a Sunni attack against you to avenge the blood of Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and to seize your weapons. And we clearly say: We don’t hold our Shiite brothers in Lebanon responsible for Rafic Hariri’s blood. We consider his blood to be yours just as it is ours, and that of all the Lebanese people. Needless to say that we chose the path of justice and not revenge, and justice is moving towards identifying those responsible and holding them accountable, them alone without generalizing the responsibility to a group or sect.”

Hariri differentiated between the Shiites and Hezbollah

“The communities in Lebanon are a spiritual and human expression of the essence of the message which our country represents. They do not belong to any party. The Shiites are not political properties of Hezbollah and Amal Movement, neither are the Sunnis political properties of the Future Movement, and nor the Christians are political properties of any party. We, in Lebanon are brought together and are protected by one project: the state. Our project, and destiny, is the state, the state, the state.”

Four members of Hezbollah were indicted by the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. However, Hezbollah strongly denied the charges and refuses to cooperate with the court.