Firing rockets from Lebanon pointless, says parliament speaker

Photo: Firing rockets from Lebanon pointless, says parliament speaker
 / Arab-Israel Relations

Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri told his visitors that the firing of rockets into Israel did not serve the Palestinian cause but was rather an attempt to involve Lebanon in the conflict, The Daily Star reported.

"Our stance is well-known; we support Palestine and its cause and we have fought the Israeli enemy," Berri's visitors quoted him as saying Monday. "But the launching of rockets from [south] Lebanon is pointless and does not serve the fight against Israel and is meant to involve Lebanon."

Berri said Lebanon was a safe haven compared to the other counties in its surrounding, highlighting the need to protect the country. "Why do we want to bring ourselves trouble?" He asked.

U.N. peacekeepers urged the Lebanese and Israeli militaries Sunday to exercise "maximum self-restraint" and cooperate with UNIFIL to maintain calm on the border, hours before a third round of rockets were fired from Lebanese territory into Israel, raising tensions between the two countries.

Three rockets had been fired from the same area a day earlier, while Friday three other rockets were also fired toward Israel from the village of Mari in Hasbaya.

Berri argued that national unity was capable of minimizing the terrorist threat, which concerned "Sunnis and Shiites alike."

On the presidential void that has almost paralyzed the work of the government and Parliament, Berri blamed the new governing mechanism established in light of the presidential void, whereby Cabinet decisions and decrees require the approval of its 24 ministers.

Berri maintained that the new mechanism rendered each minister "a king."

"The Constitution is clear when it comes to the presidential void: The Cabinet takes the prerogatives of the president, meaning that decisions and decrees must win the approval of two-thirds or half plus one of the ministers to get ratified," he said. "Why are we holding decisions hostage to the whims of 24 ministers?"

Prime Minister Tammam Salam will not call for a Cabinet session this week due to lingering differences among ministers over key issues, sources close to the premier said Sunday.

Salam also accused some ministers, whom he did not identify, of obstructing the government's work and productivity.

The prime minister will only call for a session if agreement is reached among ministers over an array of pending issues - including extra-budgetary spending, the appointment of deans to the LU's council and the salaries of civil servants, a source close to Salam told The Daily Star.

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