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Abu Faour: stern effort required for Cabinet formation
File - Caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour speaks during an interview in Beirut, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
File - Caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour speaks during an interview in Beirut, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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BEIRUT: Caretaker Foreign Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour said Thursday serious efforts are needed to overcome obstacles facing the formation of a new all-embracing Cabinet.

Meanwhile, President Michel Sleiman held talks with Hezbollah MP Mohammad Raad at Baabda Palace to discuss the process of government formation which has recently seen a breakthrough in the 10-month political deadlock.

"It is necessary to have serious ongoing efforts to remove the remaining few obstacles for the sake of forming a [new] Cabinet in which all parties participate in,” Abu Faour told reporters after meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Abu Faour, who met with Sleiman and Speaker Nabih Berri Wednesday, is also expected to meet caretaker Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam to resolve the remaining impediment.

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun’s opposition to the rotation of ministerial portfolios based on sect and party emerged as an obstacle that has stalled the birth of a new Cabinet.

Political sources close to the FPM told The Daily Star Wednesday that Aoun resigned himself to the inevitable rotation of key ministerial portfolios among sects.

The sources said that talks were ongoing to agree with Aoun on the ministerial portfolios his party would get in return for his cooperation.

In a news conference Tuesday, Aoun said he would only accept the rotation of ministerial portfolios held by the FPM – the Energy Ministry and Telecommunications Ministry – in a Cabinet formed after new parliamentary elections, scheduled in November, were held.

In addition to Aoun’s opposition, head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea said Tuesday he rejected taking part in the future Cabinet unless an agreement is reached prior to its formation to include the Baabda Declaration as the only political clause in the policy statement.

The declaration is an agreement signed by rival groups in 2012 to distance Lebanon from regional turmoil particularly the crisis in Syria.

Geagea along with his March 14 coalition allies has argued that Hezbollah’s role in Syria violated the declaration and invalidated the party’s tripartite formula of “the Army, the people, and the resistance.”

The formula adopted by previous Cabinets legitimated Hezbollah’s arms against Israeli aggression.

 
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Story Summary
Caretaker Foreign Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour said Thursday serious efforts are needed to overcome obstacles facing the formation of a new all-embracing Cabinet.

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun's opposition to the rotation of ministerial portfolios based on sect and party emerged as an obstacle that has stalled the birth of a new Cabinet.

In a news conference Tuesday, Aoun said he would only accept the rotation of ministerial portfolios held by the FPM – the Energy Ministry and Telecommunications Ministry – in a Cabinet formed after new parliamentary elections, scheduled in November, were held.
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