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Hezbollah: No all-embracing Cabinet without Aoun

  • Caretaker Minister of State Mohammad Fneish leaves the Parliament in Beirut, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Caretaker Minister of State Mohammad Fneish ruled out Wednesday the formation of an all-embracing government that excludes the Free Patriotic Movement, adding that his party, Hezbollah, would remain committed to the memorandum of understanding with its Christian political allies.

“Our relationship with the Free Patriotic Movement is based on an understanding and a strategic, constitutional vision based on the National Pact and we can only be together. No one should bet otherwise,” Fneish told the Central News Agency.

“No one can disregard the Aounist movement and [there will be] no all-embracing government without this movement,” he added.

Asked whether Hezbollah would take part in a government without FPM leader MP Michel Aoun, Fnesih said: "Things should not reach that point.”

Meanwhile, President Michel Sleiman met Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam to decide on the fate of the new Cabinet. Earlier, Sleiman met with caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, who has been tasked by MP Walid Jumblatt to negotiate the formation of an all-inclusive Cabinet.

Aoun has voiced opposition to the principle of rotating ministerial portfolios, insisting his bloc retains the Energy Ministry, currently held by his son-in-law, in a move that has obstructed the formation of an all-embracing government.

Hopes of ending the government formation deadlock were raised earlier this month after former Prime Minister Saad Hariri agreed to join a Cabinet with Hezbollah.

One of Hariri’s main conditions to joining a government with his long-time rival, however, is the rotation of ministerial portfolios based on party and sect.

Hezbollah along with its March 8 allies have warned against the formation of a fait accompli Cabinet which Salam and Sleiman seem adamant on forming in the case talks fail.

Fneish said Salam should exert additional efforts to overcome the obstacles standing in the way of breaking the 10-month political deadlock.

“What is needed is to search for a solution to this crisis and overcome obstacles because the country does not deserve to remain in this crisis or move to other crises. Therefore, the prime minister-designate should exert additional efforts,” he said.

The Hezbollah officials also said that the parties have the right to know how the prime minister-designate sought to distribute portfolios among the political parties.

 
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Summary

Caretaker Minister of State Mohammad Fneish ruled out Wednesday the formation of an all-embracing government that excludes the Free Patriotic Movement, adding that his party, Hezbollah, would remain committed to the memorandum of understanding with its Christian political allies.

Hopes of ending the government formation deadlock were raised earlier this month after former Prime Minister Saad Hariri agreed to join a Cabinet with Hezbollah.

Hezbollah along with its March 8 allies have warned against the formation of a fait accompli Cabinet which Salam and Sleiman seem adamant on forming in the case talks fail.


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