Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has reiterated his commitment to “the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701,” stressing an utter rejection of any amendment of its terms.

“It is Israel that has violated it time and again,” Berri said in an interview with daily al-Joumhouria. “No one can impose conditions on Lebanon, let alone amendments or new provisions (of 1701). We will confront any measures that might be taken in this direction.”

In this respect, Berri recalled that of the 13 contentious points along the Blue Line, some have been agreed, while others have yet to be negotiated.

Turning to the war in Gaza, Berri warned against “Israel’s intentions to prolong the war, whether in Gaza or Lebanon. This is what we told all the emissaries, and we’ve stressed to them that Israel is the source of the danger facing Lebanon and the region.”

On the issue of delaying the retirement of Army Commander General Joseph Aoun, Berri indicated that he will begin to take concrete steps to address this on December 1.

“I will convene a legislative session before December 15. There are many pending bills from the government and several urgent legislative proposals, including one related to extending the term of (army) generals by one year, which will be included on the session’s agenda,” he said.

When asked about the presidential election, Berri affirmed that this issue was “an absolute priority.” According to him, it is no longer conceivable to delay the election of a president, claiming that this postponement is due to “Maronite-Maronite disputes,” in reference to the Lebanese Forces (LF) and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). “Let them make up their minds and take a decision, and let us head to Parliament to elect the president. Otherwise, we’ll continue to go in circles,” he added.

LF leader Samir Geagea was quick to respond. “Is it the Maronites who are leaving the hemicycle and blocking the parliamentary session devoted to the election of a president?” he asked on his X account.

He recalled that at the last session on June 14, 2023, “the Maronites had agreed on the candidacy of (former minister and director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department of the International Monetary Fund) Jihad Azour. How could they be the source of the problem?” Geagea concluded.

As a reminder, the last parliamentary session for the election of a president ended, like the ones before it, when MP’s of the Shiite duo Amal and Hezbollah left the hemicycle as soon as the vote in the first round was over, provoking a lack of quorum for a possible second round.

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