Berri Reveals EU Warning not to Reject Lebanese ‘Federation’

Posted on: August 03, 2012 at 02:16
The president of a European country has advised Lebanese political parties from across the political spectrum not to object the division of Lebanon into a Switzerland-like federation, Speaker Nabih Berri revealed on Thursday.

Berri told al-Akhbar daily in an interview that he has received unconfirmed information about the head of state’s advice that was made around 15 days ago.

“Lebanon is heading to a Swiss federation and all the political parties should be wise and not to object such a plan because refusing it would shake Lebanon’s stability,” the speaker quoted the unnamed official as telling a Lebanese party.

The official reportedly added that “the fire is spreading rapidly and it would be wise to douse it in its cradle.”

Lebanon is sharply divided between the Hizbullah-led March 8 majority coalition and the March 14 opposition alliance. The Syrian conflict has exacerbated the political tensions, and many fear Syria's chaos will eventually spill across the border.

Sectarian violence has also led to bloody gunbattles between the supporters of both sides in Beirut and the northern city of Tripoli.

Berri also confirmed to his interviewer reports about a plot to assassinate him.

“Someone wants to throw a burning matchstick on a flammable ground,” he said.

Meanwhile, sources close to Berri told An Nahar daily that the speaker is expressing regret at the divisions among the parliamentary majority.

“This majority no longer exists,” it is made up of “cantons,” they quoted him as saying.

“What has it done so far and why all the procrastination?” they wondered.

Berri believes that the majority of forces represented in the cabinet have taken their hands off the responsibility to draft an electoral law and want to throw it to the parliament’s court, the sources said.

The cabinet has held several sessions to agree on an electoral draft-law proposed by Interior Minister Marwan Charbel. But differences on proportionality, the size of districts, the women’s quota and other issues have delayed the adoption of the law.
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