BEIRUT — Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who has been in Cairo since Wednesday to participate in the 32nd meeting of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, called on the union on Thursday to supervise Lebanese parliamentary elections on May 15, voicing as he did so his opposition to “any attempt to postpone them.”
Here’s what we know:
• “Lebanon wants to organize the legislative elections transparently, far from any pressure, and refuses any attempt to postpone them,” Berri said at the opening of the conference, calling on the union to “form a commission to supervise the electoral operation.”
• Berri also said in his speech that “Lebanon wants to have the best relations with its Arab brothers, based on mutual respect for the sovereignty of the [Arab] states.”He went on to call on “everyone to formulate a new contract of Arab solidarity and cooperation in various areas, especially at the security level to counter attempts to reproduce [the] Takfirist terrorist project.”
• In addition, Berri expressed “Lebanon's support for dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran.” In this context, he “hoped that this will have positive consequences on both countries, as well as the Arab and Muslim nations.”
• Lebanon is trying to restore its diplomatic ties with the Gulf countries after a diplomatic crisis occurred last October when former Information Minister George Kurdahi criticized Riyadh's role in the war in Yemen.
• Finally, Berri insisted on the need for “Syria to regain its position and role within the official Arab system,” believing that “Arabism remains lacking without it.”