Berri to Asharq Al-Awsat: I Am the One Who Sponsors Dialogue to Elect New Lebanese President

Speaker Nabih Berri meets with the National Moderation bloc on Saturday. (Parliament)
Speaker Nabih Berri meets with the National Moderation bloc on Saturday. (Parliament)
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Berri to Asharq Al-Awsat: I Am the One Who Sponsors Dialogue to Elect New Lebanese President

Speaker Nabih Berri meets with the National Moderation bloc on Saturday. (Parliament)
Speaker Nabih Berri meets with the National Moderation bloc on Saturday. (Parliament)

Lebanon’s parliament Speaker Nabih Berri put an end to the debate about who calls for and moderates dialogue in line with the initiative launched by the National Moderation bloc.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Berri said: “The General Secretariat of the parliament is the side that calls parliamentary blocs to take part in dialogue that will be headed by me personally without preconditions.”

“Perhaps meeting at a roundtable will lead to an agreement over a certain candidate, who could be eventually elected president, because the extraordinary conditions Lebanon is going through demand that we end the vacuum in the presidency,” he added.

Lebanon has been without a president since October 2022 when the term of Michel Aoun ended without the election of a successor. Bickering between the political blocs over a suitable candidate has thwarted the polls.

The National Moderation bloc has proposed holding a consultative session at parliament with the aim of agreeing on a presidential candidate and securing the needed two-thirds quorum at parliament at successive elections sessions that would be called for by Berri. The speaker would in turn vow to the bloc to call for the elections.

The bloc has been holding a series of meetings with other blocs to reach an agreement on the mechanism to launch the dialogue, focusing on who will make the invitation for the talks and who will moderate them. The bloc has also demanded that the participants not make any preconditions over the dialogue.

The National Moderation bloc met with Berri on Saturday.

Parliamentary sources from the bloc told Asharq Al-Awsat that it was not surprised with the speaker’s insistence on moderating the dialogue since he is the official who sets the mechanism for launching it.

He underlined his position to the bloc, they added.



UN Human Rights Chief: Situation in West Bank 'Drastically Deteriorating'

Palestinian Muslims gather at the Al-Aqsa mosques compound in Jerusalem, with the Dome of the Rock in the background, on the first day of the Eid al-Adha holiday marking the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah, on June 16, 2024. (PAFP)
Palestinian Muslims gather at the Al-Aqsa mosques compound in Jerusalem, with the Dome of the Rock in the background, on the first day of the Eid al-Adha holiday marking the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah, on June 16, 2024. (PAFP)
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UN Human Rights Chief: Situation in West Bank 'Drastically Deteriorating'

Palestinian Muslims gather at the Al-Aqsa mosques compound in Jerusalem, with the Dome of the Rock in the background, on the first day of the Eid al-Adha holiday marking the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah, on June 16, 2024. (PAFP)
Palestinian Muslims gather at the Al-Aqsa mosques compound in Jerusalem, with the Dome of the Rock in the background, on the first day of the Eid al-Adha holiday marking the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah, on June 16, 2024. (PAFP)

The United Nations human rights chief on Tuesday warned that the rights situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was drastically deteriorating, while there had been "unconscionable death and suffering" in Gaza.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," said Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

He said that as of June 15, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers since October, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings."