Anti-government protesters take a selfie on concrete blocks placed by security forces near the An-Nahar building in Downtown Beirut. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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A crucial meeting held on the sidelines of a new national dialogue session Tuesday failed to make headway on the issue of military promotions, a key demand of MP Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement and viewed as essential for getting the stalled government functioning. After chairing the third round of all-party talks centering on the 16-month presidential crisis, Speaker Nabih Berri met in a closed-door session in Parliament with Prime Minister Tammam Salam, former premier Fouad Siniora, Aoun, MP Walid Jumblatt and MP Mohammad Raad, head of Hezbollah's bloc in Parliament and their advisers in a bid to revive the Cabinet's work. However, the meeting, which focused on the issue of military promotions, ended in failure, ministerial sources said. Among those who fiercely oppose military promotions to the rank of major general are Defense Minister Samir Moqbel, the Future Movement and independent ministers such as Telecommunications Minister Boutros Harb and Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon.Last month, the ministers of the FPM and Hezbollah boycotted a Cabinet session over these issues.The parliamentary Future bloc criticized the civil society groups for demanding that parliamentary polls be held before the election of a president.
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