Le­banese prez vows to end govt im­passe

Khaleej Times - - FRONT PAGE -

beirut — Le­banese Pres­i­dent Michel Aoun said on Satur­day that a solution would be found to a po­lit­i­cal row that has blocked the for­ma­tion of a new na­tional unity govern­ment for more than six months since a gen­eral elec­tion in May.

The coun­try is in dire need of a govern­ment able to im­ple­ment eco­nomic re­forms that the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) says are nec­es­sary. The last stick­ing point sur­rounds Sunni Mus­lim rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the coun­try’s cabi­net where the 30 seats must be al­lo­cated along sec­tar­ian lines.

The iran backed Hezbol­lah group says one of its Sunni al­lies must be rep­re­sented in the govern­ment to re­flect the gains they made in the elec­tion.

But Prime Min­is­ter-des­ig­nate Saad Al Hariri has ruled out al­lo­cat­ing any of his cabi­net seats to them. The Hezbol­lah-al­lied Sun­nis are also known for their close ties to the Syr­ian govern­ment of Pres­i­dent Bashar Al As­sad. “The mat­ter re­quires brav­ery and pa­tience to reach the end, but we will find the solution be­cause wait­ing is a waste of time,” a state­ment from the pres­i­dency cited Aoun as say­ing in a meet­ing with the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

A state­ment from Hezbol­lah said on Satur­day the group’s leader, Sayyed Has­san Nas­ral­lah, had

met Aoun’s son-in-law and close ad­vi­sor Ge­bran Bassil to dis­cuss the for­ma­tion of a govern­ment and ef­forts “to re­solve the com­pli­ca­tions”. Bassil heads the Free Pa­tri­otic Move­ment, the party estab­lished by Aoun.

Druze leader Walid Jum­blatt on Fri­day voiced fears for Le­banon’s cur­rency if the dead­lock con­tin­ues. —

Michel Aoun. — AFP

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