Berri : “We only have the dialogue left. It’s the oxygen we are breathing”


berri defSpeaker Nabih Berri reiterated that the national dialogue would collapse if the Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun decides to boycott it , describing the talks as “Oxygen we are breathing.”

“We only have the dialogue left. It’s the oxygen we are breathing,” said Berri, whose remarks were published  locally   on Monday.

The speaker has set three days of all-party talks that start on Tuesday.

He said a settlement reached between several officials on the military promotions had been paralyzed by some parties who claimed that the appointment of a new Internal Security Forces chief was among the items included in the deal.

Aoun, who heads the Change and Reform bloc, threatened last week to boycott the national dialogue talks following reports that the deal included the appointment of the ISF leader.

But several officials denied that the agreement on military promotions included an item on ISF appointments in an attempt to appease Aoun.

Despite their efforts, the cabinet has not yet met to approve the promotion of three senior army officers – a Maronite, a Shiite and a Sunni – among them Commando Regiment chief Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz, who is Aoun’s son-in-law, to the rank of major general.

Amid Aoun’s warning to boycott the all-party talks, ministerial sources told al-Akhbar daily that Berri and Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblatt  have exerted exceptional measures over the weekend to stop him from taking any negative action.

The result of the talks was fruitful, said the sources, adding Education Minister Elias Bou Saab, who is one of the ministers representing Aoun in the cabinet, informed Berri that the lawmaker would attend the dialogue.

The rival leaders attending the dialogue “made a breakthrough last week,” said Berri, adding all the parties backed a waste management plan that has been proposed by Agriculture Minister Akram Shehayyeb.

The speaker, who also heads the Amal movement, reiterated that he will not accept to discuss any issue before resolving the garbage crisis and the implementation of the plan the plan, which was approved by the cabinet last month.

“The authorities should put the plan into action even if there are objections to it because the garbage invaded Lebanon and winter is at our doorsteps,” he said.