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Lebanon: Aoun, Hariri ‘Silent’ Over Cabinet Formation Talks

Lebanon: Aoun, Hariri ‘Silent’ Over Cabinet Formation Talks

Friday, 30 October, 2020 - 12:00
Saad Hariri meets with President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon November 7, 2019. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is maintaining silence in the ongoing talks with President Michel Aoun over the new government lineup.

Hariri’s recent meetings with the president are kept confidential and the two officials refrain from disclosing any information to the media until a final agreement is reached.

Hariri’s office and the Presidency are swift in denying leaks, by issuing statements that sometimes describe some information as false.

In a recent press statement, Hariri said that all information on the formation of the government are inaccurate, reiterating that he and Aoun had pledged not to disclose any news until the lineup is complete.

However, Hariri pointed to “progress in the formation process in an atmosphere of understanding and positivity.”

Speaker Nabih Berri announced this week that the lineup would be ready within a few days, “if the positive atmosphere was maintained.”

Sources in the Shiite duo - Amal and Hezbollah – have also expressed optimism. In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the sources said that Berri’s statements were based on tangible information.

The sources, however, pointed to an obstacle in former Minister Talal Arslan’s insistence on having a ministerial portfolio despite his rejection to task Hariri in leading the new government.

Baabda palace sources told Asharq al-Awsat that the purpose of secrecy was to complete the formation of the government without obstruction or confusion.

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