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Lebanon: Efforts to Contain Aoun-Berri Dispute

Lebanon: Efforts to Contain Aoun-Berri Dispute

Wednesday, 3 January, 2018 - 08:30
Hariri meets the Army Commander on Tuesday/NNA

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri has been leading efforts to contain tension between President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri after a dispute erupted between the two men last week over a decree to promote a number of officers, who graduated from the military academy in 1994, without the approval of the Finance Minister.

The Prime Minister sought to bring the views of the two sides closer, in his latest bid to contain the crisis ahead of Thursday’s scheduled cabinet session.

Presidential sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the crisis over the decree is ongoing, denying that any party had proposed to the president “a formula” for solving the issue.

“We are still at the phase of containing the crisis. We have not yet moved to the solution phase.”

The sources said that any solution cannot circumvent the decree already signed by the president and the government, and which Speaker Nabih Berri says would require the signature of the Finance Minister.

Aoun and Hariri had signed the decree that sees the promotion of officers who graduated from the military school in 1994. However, Berri insists that the decree should be approved by the Finance Ministry, before going into effect.

“The status of the decree is final even if not yet published in the official gazette,” the sources said.

According to the same sources, Aoun is not in the process of dropping his stance regarding the issue, because such a move would hurt the image of the presidential seat.

For his part, a leading member from the Future Movement, Mustafa Alloush said on Tuesday that Hariri is trying to find a way to bring the views of Aoun and Berri closer.

“However, the results of his mediation are still unclear,” Alloush added.

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