Lebanon's parliament speaker sets stage for dialogue

Lebanon's parliament speaker Nabih Berri on Saturday moved a table with 14 seats around it into the building to try to bring rival political leaders to start talking and end a prolonged deadlock, his spokesman said.

Lebanon's parliament speaker sets stage for dialogue
"This step is a reaffirmation that Berri is more steadfast today than at any time before. . . that there is no alternative to dialogue as a way out of this political impasse," Ali Hamdan, the speaker's adviser said.

Lebanon has been in a political deadlock which has left the country without a president for more than four months.

Although the wooden round table has been set up on the second floor of the parliament building, Hamdan said that none of the feuding political leaders has been invited yet as he is awaiting "receptiveness" from the ruling coalition to his proposal.

Berri's calls for inter-Lebanese talks has already been rebuffed by Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, who has called for an urgent meeting of Arab foreign ministers and Beirut's strained relations with Damascus.

Lebanon's parliament has been paralysed for over 16 months and sessions planned to elect a president have been postponed 17 times.

The next session is scheduled for Tuesday, but is unlikely to take place.

Last Mod: 20 Nisan 2008, 16:08
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