By Stephanie Radi
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AA) – Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Monday called on the country’s political parties to hold an “urgent” national dialogue.
"I call for an urgent national dialogue in order to reach an understanding on three issues and work to approve them, namely the expanded administrative and financial decentralization, defensive strategy for Lebanon’s protection, and a financial and economic recovery plan,” he said in a televised speech.
Aoun condemned the disruption of the Lebanese government’s work.
On Oct. 13, a Cabinet session was postponed indefinitely, following the insistence of ministers affiliated with the Shia Hezbollah group and Amal movement to hold a discussion on the Beirut port blast case in an effort to disqualify the judicial investigator, Judge Tarek Bitar, whom they accuse of politicizing the investigation into the explosion.
No ministerial session has been held since that date.
Meanwhile, Aoun affirmed his desire for better relations with the Arab countries, specifically with the Gulf states.
"What is the justification for straining relations with these countries and interfering in matters that do not concern us?” he said.
On Dec. 3, Lebanese Minister of Information George Kordahi resigned about a month after a diplomatic crisis erupted between Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries as a result of a statement he made on the Yemen war before assuming his portfolio.
Lebanon seeks to end the diplomatic crisis with the Gulf nations as the country is suffering a crippling economic crisis, amid fuel and medical supply shortages.
*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat