Aoun receives Hariri in Baabda, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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This was Hariri's fourth meeting with Aoun since he was designated by on Nov. 3 to form a new Cabinet.Hariri said he and Aoun were intent on benefiting from the "many positive indications" that emerged following Aoun's election as president on Oct. 31, which ended a 29-month vacuum in the country's top Christian post.Last week, tensions emerged between Berri and Hariri over the delay in the government formation.Since Hariri's appointment as prime minister, Berri has insisted on retaining control of both the Public Works and Finance ministries, and demanded that the Marada Movement be given a key portfolio. Aoun echoed Hariri's remarks on ongoing efforts to eliminate hurdles hindering the Cabinet formation. Summing up the major hurdles facing Hariri in his attempts to set up a national unity government, political sources said Berri is adamant on retaining the Finance and Public Works ministries to his bloc, the LF are demanding the Public Works Ministry, in addition to other portfolios, Hariri is insisting on the Telecommunications Ministry being allocated to his Future bloc and the Free Patriotic Movement wants to retain the Energy Ministry.Berri was reported to have rejected an offer from Hariri to accept the Health Ministry in return for giving up the Public Works Ministry for the LF, which is allied with the Future Movement and the FPM.
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