Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced Wednesday that he is willing to “go on foot to the Baabda Palace to meet President Michel Aoun” if he senses “the presence of positivity as to resolving the crisis that we are going through.”
Addressing Higher Judicial Council chief Judge Suheil Abboud, Berri said the Council “should have a role in the issue of investigative judge Tarek Bitar,” who is leading the probe into the catastrophic Beirut port blast.
“Honestly, had the Higher Judicial Council practiced its role, we would not have reached the current sectarianization in the judiciary,” Berri added, in a meeting with a delegation from the Editors Syndicate.
Moreover, he said that his Amal Movement and Hizbullah “do not want to sectarianize the judiciary.”
“We don’t want to topple Bitar and what we only want is a return to the law and constitution, and this is what I said to the patriarch,” Berri added, calling for “implementing the constitution’s articles, especially in the issue related to the port blast.”
Noting that the Higher Council for the Trial of Presidents and Ministers should handle the case of the ex-PM and former ministers who are accused in the port case, Berri said he had “agreed on these points” with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, noting that the head of the Maronite church also “announced that the presidents (Aoun, Berri and Miqati) had committed” to the proposed solution.
“But this agreement was quickly torpedoed,” the Speaker lamented, noting that “those who blew up this consensus are those who work in the black room that oversees operations in this case.”
Separately, Berri decried that “Lebanon is under siege,” adding that “it is unbelievable that Israel, the enemy, is opening up to Arabs as we’re witnessing today while Arabs are closing their doors in the face of Lebanon.”
“Lebanon paid hefty prices to enshrine its Arabism and identity,” the Speaker went on to say.
As for the issue of the parliamentary elections, Berri reassured that “the elections will take place within the constitutional timeframe,” while noting that he respects that the ruling that will be issued by the Constitutional Council on the appeal that has been filed by the Strong Lebanon bloc against the electoral law’s amendments.