| 19 April 2024, Friday |

Aoun uses Hariri’s travel to justify delay in Government formation

A prominent parliamentary source told Asharq Al-Awsat that President Michel Aoun was using a trip by Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri to the UAE to dispel accusations of obstructing government formation.

The deputy stressed that the stalling was not caused by Hariri, but rather by the insistence of Aoun and his son-in-law, former minister Gebran Bassil on the conditions they have set for the new government lineup.

According to the source, Hariri cannot be accused of impeding the birth of the government, while the responsibility rests with the political team affiliated with Aoun and his political heir, Bassil.

The source stressed that Hariri’s return to Beirut in the coming hours would not push the government file forward unless Aoun gave up on his conditions, especially his insistence on the blocking third power in the cabinet.

The deputy emphasized that Hariri has maintained communication with parliament Speaker Nabih Berri over the government file, adding that he had no objection to interrupting at any moment his visit to the UAE in the event that Aoun shows his willingness to cooperate and drop the conditions that are hampering the birth of the government.

He added that although the Lebanese president has told his mediators that he did not ask for the blocking third, he informally insisted on this demand through the forms he had sent to Hariri to fill last month, which sparked political and media controversy.

In this context, a well-informed political source said that the head of the General Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, has met with French officials in Paris, who told him that the French authorities were convinced that Bassil was obstructing the formation of the government.

The source added that upon his return to Beirut, Ibrahim met with Bassil and conveyed to him the message of the French team working on the Lebanese file, advising him to cooperate, especially as Paris has warned of its intention to impose sanctions on those who obstruct the government birth.

While Hariri refused to accept to meet with Bassil in Paris upon a French initiative, the source noted, adding that French officials have expressed readiness to receive Aoun’s son-in-law in an attempt to “soften his position.”

  • Asharq Al-Awsat