Interior Minister from Rabieh: Consultations Ongoing with Aoun

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq stressed on Monday that consultations are ongoing with the Free Patriotic Movement, pointing out that dialogue between the political arch-foes maintained stability in the country.

“Dialogue is ongoing between us. It has so far achieved cabinet stability and facilitated the success of the security plan,” Mashnouq told reporters after talks with head of the FPM Michel Aoun in Rabieh.

The minister didn't disclose the reason behind his visit to Aoun, denying that the meeting tackled the presidential vacuum.

“I didn't convey any message to Aoun,” Mashnouq, who is loyal to al-Musatqbal chief Saad Hariri, remarked.

“We will not abandon on our alliance with the March 14 coalition and (Lebanese Forces leader) Samir Geagea is still our (presidential) candidate.”

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 five times to try to elect a successor to Suleiman but failed during the last five sessions due to a lack of quorum.

Geagea's candidacy has been backed by the March 14 coalition while Aoun, a March 8 official, has not run for the presidency, saying consensus was needed to announce his candidacy.

Mashnouq also ruled out reports saying that he urged Prime Minister Tammam Salam to form a small-member cabinet. “The reports are inaccurate, I only called for the formation of an emergency cell.”



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