House Speaker Nabih Berri is a basic, historic cornerstone of the Taef Agreement,” said Democratic Gathering Chief, MP Walid Jumblatt, on emerging from his meeting with Speaker Berri in Ain el-Tineh this evening.

The meeting was devoted to tackling latest hour issues, in the presence of MP Wael Abu Faour and Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil.

“We have to focus and pay attention to the fundamental issue of concern, namely the financial and economic situation…Today, as you know, the price of oil is on the rise; hence, the deficit bill will increase. For this reason, some outstanding problems must be resolved,” stated Jumblatt.

Over his alliances in the upcoming parliamentary elections, Jumblatt said, “Our alliance with House Speaker Berri has been finalized, but with others we have not yet decided.”

Questioned about whom he was referring to by the “others”, Jumblatt said, “There are the Free Patriotic Movement, the Lebanese Forces, the Kataeb, the Democratic Party and the Liberals. Dori Chamoun has blamed me for forgetting the Liberals…no one forgets the Liberals…and there is also Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya.”

“We have to consult with everyone. The Democratic Gathering’s room in the elections is small, and it is not present in all of Lebanon. We have the Shouf, Aley, Beirut and Baabda as well,” explained Jumblatt.

Asked about his decision regarding Baabda, Jumblatt said, “We have not decided yet. As I said, we are still deliberating.”

Over the Baabda-Ain el-Tineh crises, the Democratic Gathering Chief stated that “there is no crisis, but there is a main platform. In the end, we must remember that Speaker Berri is a cornerstone and historic part of the Taef, and we must also remind others of the Taef Agreement, of the need to develop and not to abolish it.”

Asked about the fate of Speaker Berri’s initiative regarding the officers’ decree, Jumblatt said, “It has been lost!”

Source: National News Agency