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Lebanon's FPM Says Won’t Join New Gov't on Hariri Terms

Lebanon's FPM Says Won’t Join New Gov't on Hariri Terms

Thursday, 12 December, 2019 - 18:15
Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil speaks during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo

The Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) will not join a new government under the terms insisted on by caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri, but it will not obstruct the formation of a new cabinet, its leader Gebran Bassil, who is Lebanon’s Foreign Minister, said on Thursday.

Bassil called for the formation of a government made up entirely of technocrats including its prime minister, appearing to leave the door open for participation on different terms.

"If Prime Minister Hariri insists on the equation 'either me or nobody else' (as prime minister) ... we in the FPM ... are not concerned in participating in such a government, because its fate will be certain failure," said Bassil, who is President Michel Aoun’s son-in-law.

Six weeks since Hariri resigned in the face of unprecedented protests against the country's elite, political leaders have failed to agree on a new premier and government, steps seen as a prerequisite for restoring confidence and earning foreign assistance.

Hariri has reemerged as a candidate to head the next government after Samir Khatib withdrew his candidacy.

Foreign diplomats decided at a closed-door meeting in Paris on Wednesday that Lebanon cannot expect to receive international aid for its battered economy until a new government undertakes serious reforms.

The international group, led by France and the United Nations, met to discuss conditions for helping ease turmoil in Lebanon.

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