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(From BBC Monitoring International Reports)
The Lebanese prime minister-designate has urged the opposition to join a government of "national unity" in order to implement the terms of Al-Ta'if Accord and discuss all outstanding issues. At a news conference he held at Ba'abda, Beirut, on Thursday Umar Karami said he is setting no conditions but warned that if his call is not heeded quickly, the country "will be heading towards destruction" and that the parties that do not participate in the national unity government "will be held responsible". The following is the text of the news conference broadcast live by Lebanese LBC Sat TV on 10 March; subheadings inserted editorially:
[Karami] His excellency the president briefed me on the mandatory parliamentary consultations in the presence of the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies. You all know the figure; some 91 deputies named me. This shows that the previous government was not brought down at the Chamber of Deputies. I tendered my resignation for the reasons I mentioned in the statement that I read then. I don't think that I need to repeat those reasons now.
Second, I belong to Ayn-al-Tinah group which staged a demonstration on Tuesday [8 March]. It was a huge demonstration that proved our popularity in the street. The other thing is that having been asked to form the government I fully realize the magnitude of the political, economic, and social responsibilities and complications. I am one of those who believed right from the start, when I was charged with the formation of the previous government, in national dialogue and the formation of a national unity government.
Al-Ta'if accord, national unity government
Therefore, having been charged today with the formation of the government, I repeat that it is not possible to confront the hardships, which we all know, without a national unity government, a salvation government. I hear from everyone that they are all under the ceiling of Al-Ta'if Accord. If we are all under the ceiling of Al-Ta'if Accord, let us join the …