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Lebanon News

Future Movement delegation to meet Hariri in Jeddah

  • Former Prime Ministers, Saad Hariri, left, and Fouad Siniora speak during a press conference in Baabda, Lebanon, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: A Future Movement delegation headed by MP Fouad Siniora set off to Jeddah Sunday to meet former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and discuss the latest developments in Lebanon.

The delegation, which includes Siniora and MPs Ahmad Fatfat and Nuhad Mashnouq, is expected to discuss the stalled Cabinet formation process, the issue of extending Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi’s mandate and the possible resumption of National Dialogue, local media reported.

Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Friday his party was ready to relaunch National Dialogue sessions under the auspices of President Michel Sleiman in order to discuss the contentious issue of the resistance group’s arsenal in the framework of a national defense strategy.

The Future Movement and other opposition parties said they would boycott Dialogue sessions until the Cabinet under now caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigns and that the all-party talks only address Hezbollah’s arsenal.

Their decision came following the October assassination of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan. Opposition parties had accused the government of providing cover for Hasan’s killing.

Mikati resigned earlier this year over disputes within his Cabinet. Since his resignation, Prime Minister Tammam Salam has struggled to form his own government, amid conditions and counter-conditions set by rival political coalitions.

The Future Movement insists that Hezbollah not take part in the upcoming Cabinet.

As for the extension of Kahwagi’s mandate, which expires in September, the Future Movement supports raising the retirement age of senior military officials, which would see the present Army commander remain at his post. However, a cyclical boycott of Parliament by Mikati, March 14 parties and the Free Patriotic Movement over the legislature’s agenda has prevented MPs from voting on the matter.

 
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