French President Emmanuel Macron, right, meets with Lebanese President Michel Aoun on the sidelines of the 17th Francophone countries summit in Yerevan, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Aoun, who returned Friday from a three-day visit to Armenia after attending the 17th summit of the International Organization of the Francophonie, said Hariri would always be welcome at Baabda Palace to try to resolve the Cabinet formation deadlock.Aoun also stressed that the government formation was purely the business of the Lebanese people.Aoun, however, emphasized that the aim of his meeting with Macron wasn't to discuss the Cabinet formation.Aoun and Macron held a private meeting before they were later joined by caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and Macron's diplomatic adviser, Philippe Etienne.Ahead of the Aoun-Hariri meeting, Bassil, the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, toughened his stance by reiterating that the LF should not be allocated more than three ministers, despite having boosted its MPs from eight to 15 in the May parliamentary elections.Further complicating the Cabinet formation process was Bassil's declaration that the FPM is coveting the Public Works Ministry, which is currently held by the Marada Movement, in addition to the Energy Ministry.Bassil's proposal seemingly appeared to target the LF, which has been pushing for a significant Cabinet share of five ministers.
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