Tensions break out between Lebanese gov't factions

Parliament speaker says he will not convene the parliament before opposition demands for a national unity government are met.

By
March 20, 2007 14:36
2 minute read.
Tensions break out between Lebanese gov't factions

lebanon parliament 88. (photo credit: )

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Pro-government lawmakers and their Hizbullah rivals on Tuesday dampened hopes that recent negotiations between the two camps in Lebanon would lead to an end to the country's four month long political crisis. Several rounds of talks this month between Saad Hariri, head of the pro-government parliament majority, and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri from opposition ranks aligned with Hizbullah, defused some of the tension permeating Lebanon and revived hopes of a reconciliation. But tensions escalated anew Tuesday, after a group of pro-government legislators gathered in parliament to protest against Berri's refusal to convene a session on the crisis. Berri has said he would not convene the parliament before opposition demands for a national unity government are met. He has also said that even though the constitution stipulates the parliament convene for the spring session on the first Tuesday after March 15, this was not mandatory. Walid Jumblatt, a Druse lawmaker and key government supporter, accused Berri of "hijacking" the parliament upon orders from Iran and Syria - the main Hizbullah backers. Dialogue, said Jumblatt, can only be beneficial in parliament. Christian pro-government legislator George Adwan accused Berri of failing to live up to his constitutional duties. "We came here today because it is our constitutional duty," he told reporters during the protest in parliament. Hariri is Sunni Muslim and his community backs Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's pro-Western government. Berri is a Shi'ite Muslim, and his party Amal and its Hizbullah ally draw their support from the country's Shi'ite community. The Hizbullah-led opposition has been staging protests and an open ended sit in downtown Beirut since December 1 in a bid to topple Saniora's government. The opposition demands the government give it a veto-wielding share of the Cabinet. Saniora has refused this, and is supported by the majority in parliament. The confrontation has stirred political and sectarian tensions that have threaten to tear the country apart. Nine people were killed in street clashes since December between pro- and anti-government supporters. The opposition and Lebanon's pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud consider Saniora's government to be illegal after five Shi'ite ministers and a pro-Hizbullah Christian minister resigned in November. The pro-government, anti-Syrian camp wants parliament to convene so that it can give the go-ahead for the creation of an international tribunal to try suspects in the Feb. 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The Hizbullah-led front has demanded modifications to the proposal for the international court. But at the protest Tuesday, Jumblatt said the parliament is "where the fate of the international tribunal and other laws is decided" and demanded the assembly convene the assembly. Meanwhile, Hizbullah lawmaker Ali Ammar, on the way to his office in the parliament building, said it was the pro-government camp which was "disrupting all initiatives, settlements and ongoing dialogue in the country." Ammar did not elaborate.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

September 22, 2018
Brazilian police arrest alleged Hezbollah financier

By JTA