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The Daily Star
SUNDAY, 20 APR 2014
04:00 AM Beirut time
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Ties between Mikati, Sleiman excellent: minister
Environment Minister Nazim Khoury spoke to The Daily Star in an exclusive interview.
Environment Minister Nazim Khoury spoke to The Daily Star in an exclusive interview.
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BEIRUT: Ties between caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and President Michel Sleiman are excellent, caretaker Environment Minister Nazem Khoury said Thursday, after a row recently surfaced between the two leaders.

“I would like to clarify that there is nothing wrong between the two presidents and the ties between them are excellent,” said Khoury after meeting with Mikati in the Grand Serail.

“As for the issue of holding a Cabinet session or not, it is not a reason for a problem or controversy,” the minister, who is close to Sleiman, added.

Earlier this week, Sleiman turned down attempts by Mikati to convene the caretaker Cabinet and said there was no reason for resigned ministers to meet.

The president called instead for the formation of a government to oversee the election of a new head of state.

Khoury said that Mikati wants a swift Cabinet formation because he is not comfortable with having a caretaker Cabinet.

“We held talks with Mikati who said there is a need for a new Cabinet that can confront challenges facing Lebanon and he is not comfortable with having a caretaker Cabinet because there are a lot of duties and responsibilities facing officials who cannot fulfill them in the right way,” Khoury said.

Lebanon has been left without a functioning government for more than eight months, which caused a paralysis in most of the country’s institutions.

MP-designate Tammam Salam has failed to form a new Cabinet since he was named in April due to differences between the country’s political rivals.

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