Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks with his Lebanese counterpart Saad Hariri during a meeting at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid on July 20, 2018. AFP / CURTO DE LA TORRE
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Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri Friday stuck to his optimism about forming a new government soon, defying all gloomy prospects that ruled out any imminent breakthrough in the Cabinet stalemate, given major hurdles still facing Hariri in his mission. Speaking during a visit to Spain, Hariri said the formation of the government was near, but he underlined the importance of respecting consensus among the country's major political parties due to the diversity and pluralism in Lebanon as the only solution to the nearly two-month Cabinet standoff. Hariri's remarks in Spain come as caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil showed no signs of budging on his opposition to the Lebanese Forces' push to obtain key ministerial posts in the new Cabinet. Hariri stressed that consensus was the only solution to ending the Cabinet impasse. President Michel Aoun, who is reportedly waiting for Hariri to present him with the first draft Cabinet lineup, shared the prime minister-designate's optimism about the government formation soon.The LF's demand for key ministerial portfolios, including the position of the deputy prime minister, has been rejected by Aoun and Bassil.
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