Aoun receives Lebanon’s Ambassador to the U.N. Amal Mudallali at the presidential palace in Baabda. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil Monday defended the government's dissociation policy toward regional conflicts, saying Lebanon did not support meddling in Yemen's affairs in what appeared to be implicit criticism of Hezbollah's stance on the 3-year-old Yemeni war.Commenting on the government formation crisis, which has entered its third month with no solution in sight, Bassil said: "There are people who are demanding more than their share [in the Cabinet]".He was referring to the Lebanese Forces, which is locked in a fierce rivalry with the FPM for representing the Christian community in the new government. LF ministers and lawmakers have accused Bassil of seeking to prevent their party from obtaining a significant Cabinet share based on the results of the May 6 parliamentary elections, when the party boosted its representation from eight to 15 MPs.Caretaker Social Affairs Minister Pierre Bou Assi, one of three LF ministers in Hariri's outgoing Cabinet, rejected FPM accusations that the LF's demand for a sovereign ministry was obstructing the government's formation.Despite soaring tensions and exchange of accusations between the FPM and the LF over Cabinet shares that put the Maarab agreement in jeopardy, LF leader Samir Geagea said his party upheld the agreement which, he added, called for the distribution of ministerial portfolios equally between the FPM and the LF after allocating the president's Cabinet share.
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