Berri Says Syrian Defense Chief On His Own
Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said Monday that both the Damascus leadership and himself disagreed with Syrian Defense Minister Mustapha Tlass' recent harsh criticism of Maronite leader Nasrallah Sfeir and Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt, said the Daily Star newspaper.
Berri made the comments to a delegation from the Journalists Union led by its president, Melhem Karam.
“The Syrian leadership and myself do not share the views expressed by Tlass,” Berri said, cited by the paper.
Last week, Ad Diyar newspaper quoted Tlass as saying that Sfeir had sought the intervention of Pope John Paul to persuade Israel in 1983 to defend Lebanon’s Christians during battles with Druze militias in the Chouf.
Tlass also attacked Jumblatt, saying: “We’re not going to answer him and we don’t listen to him...we’re the ones who invented him.”
Also Monday, the Phalange Party president, Mounir Hajj, expressed his “sadness” about Tlass’ comments about Sfeir, saying that he “hoped they do not reflect the position of the Syrian leadership.”
Meanwhile, Berri also dismissed reports of differences between President Emile Lahoud and Premier Rafiq Hariri, adding “As far as I know, there is no government change or reshuffle.” – Albawaba.com
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