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Berri-Jumblatt Unite to Confront 'Violating Taif Accord'

Berri-Jumblatt Unite to Confront 'Violating Taif Accord'

Tuesday, 23 January, 2018 - 07:45
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is seen at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, November 6, 2017. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS

Head of the Progressive Socialist Party MP Walid Jumblatt openly joined on Monday the battle of Speaker Nabih Berri to protect the “Taif Accord,” currently fought against the Free Patriotic Movement, in light of a dispute that emerged early this month between President Michel Aoun and Berri over a decree to promote a number of officers without the approval of the Finance Minister.

Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri had signed a decree that sees the promotion of officers who graduated from the military school in 1994.

Berri insists that the decree should be approved by the Finance Ministry, before going into effect.

The Speaker and Jumblatt both believe that the absence of the Finance Ministry’s signature on the decree violates the Taif Accord, a statement denied by the Free Patriotic Movement.

On Monday, Berri deplored what he described as the implementation of "unconstitutional and anti-Taif" practices in Lebanon.

His worries were echoed by a tweet posted earlier by Jumblatt, who said: “Behind almost every Cabinet decision, deficit is increasing instead of being limited; yet the most dangerous thing is that Taif Accord is being emptied instead of being held onto and developed.”

Later on Monday, MP Wael Abou Faour, who is delegated by Jumblatt, visited Berri.

"Unfortunately, we are still in the same vortex regarding the 1994 military officers' decree, and it seems that the discussion on this subject has sparked yet another debate on the respect of the text and spirit of the Taif agreement," he said, adding that his party "cannot accept the logic that says that the military officers' decree is a thing of the past.”

Sources informed about Berri and Jumblatt’s positions told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday that cautions against violating the “Taif” were not limited to the latest disputes over the military officers’ decree, but involve files piled from last year, and that shows the presence of “a disputed explanation of the Taif Accord and an attempt to adjust some of its items to fit the interests of a particular political party.”

However, parliamentary sources from the “Change and Reform” parliamentary bloc said the FPM was attached to the Taif Accord, adding that the crisis is rather linked to the explanation of the Constitution, which was amended based on the Taif document.

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