BEIRUT: Future MP Fouad Siniora said Thursday forming a new Cabinet was a Lebanese affair and hoped progress would be made in that endeavor, after a two-hour meeting with Speaker Nabih Berri.
The meeting came amid a political deadlock that has made Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam’s task of forming a new Cabinet next to impossible.
“The Cabinet formation is a Lebanese affair and should be resolved in Lebanon, and we will continue this dialogue in hopes of progressing in that direction,” Siniora said following talks with Berri in Ain el-Tineh.
“It is a step in the right direction, an attempt to find common ground between us,” he added.
Although he declined to give details about the meeting, Siniora said the talks centered on public affairs, which he said concerns most Lebanese.
“We discussed various matters and the dialogue was serious, useful and productive and we agreed to follow it up in the coming days,” he said.
“I sought to address the Lebanese with realistic and serious talk to establish productive development,” Siniora added.
According to An-Nahar, Siniora's visit came in response to the delegation Berri dispatched earlier this month to discuss his own dialogue initiative aimed at ending the political paralysis.
The initiative would see rival parties meet for a series of dialogue sessions to discuss the makeup and the ministerial statement of the upcoming Cabinet and a national defense strategy, which addresses Hezbollah's arsenal.
Although the Future Movement agreed to attend the sessions, it maintained that the formation of a Cabinet should coincide with all-party talks and that forming a government was the prerogative of PM-designate Tammam Salam.
Salam has been struggling for months to form a Cabinet lineup in the face of conditions and counter conditions by rival groups.
While Hezbollah seeks representation in a political Cabinet which adopts the resistance group’s defense strategy, the Future Movement and its allies in the March 14 coalition demand a neutral government.
The March 14 argues that the “Army, the people and the resistance” formula was rendered invalid after Hezbollah sent its members to fight alongside regime forces in Syria.
During talks with MPs Wednesday, Berri said talk about a de facto government should end because it does not serve anybody’s interest.