Naharnet

Abou Faour Describes Hariri, Jumblat Ties as 'Solid'

Health Minister Wael Abou Faour described on Sunday relations between Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat and al-Mustaqbal Movement MP Saad Hariri as “good and solid.”

“Even if they have different stances but respect, friendship and cooperation remain,” Abou Faour pointed out.

He lauded the efforts exerted by Hariri to form a new government and his ongoing consultations with rival parties to end the presidential deadlock.

Lebanon has been plunged into a leadership vacuum after Michel Suleiman's presidential term ended on May 25 with rival political blocs still divided over a new leader.

Over the past two months the parliament convened several times to try to elect a successor to Suleiman but failed during the last five sessions due to a lack of quorum.

The next elections session is scheduled for June 18.

Abou Faour said that Jumblat, Hariri, Speaker Nabih Berri, Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi and all “political parties are working on resolving the presidential crisis in a way that preserves the presidency and state institutions.”

He considered his recent meeting with “excellent.”

Hariri held a telephone conversation with Jumblat on Friday evening during a meeting with Abou Faour in the Moroccan city of Casablanca.

The two officials agreed to hold a meeting in the near future.

The meeting's date will be announced later, a statement issued by Hariri's press office said.

Al-Akhbar and al-Liwaa newspapers have said the talks will be held next Tuesday.

“It is time to reach a consensual head of state... Our parliamentary bloc (Democratic Gathering) nominated its candidate, who has all the necessary conditions” to be elected, Abou Faour said.

Jumblat previously backed Aley lawmaker Henri Helou candidacy, describing him as a “voice of moderation.”

Separately, Jumblat told al-Mukhtara's visitors on Sunday that “we must incessantly seek to preserve the Lebanese state despite all circumstances.”

“We must preserve what's left of this state and this entity and its diversity, regardless of the enormous political differences,” Jumblat added.

H.K./Y.R.


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