Mashnouq Says Saudi Role Minimizes Aoun's Chances to Reach Baabda

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq has said that Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun's chances to become a compromise president are limited because Riyadh rejects a “confrontational” candidate.

Saudi Arabia claims that “it is at an equal distance from everyone,” al-Mashnouq told al-Akhbar newspaper on Tuesday.

“But in reality it does not back a confrontational candidate,” he said.

The minister hinted that Aoun could not be a compromise candidate as long as he does not receive Riyadh's backing.

In a series of other remarks to several local dailies, al-Mashnouq said some politicians believe that the election of a new president is a local issue while others claim it is a regional issue.

“I back the second opinion,” he said.

Al-Mashnouq discussed with the FPM chief on Monday ways to agree on a mechanism that allows the government to function in the absence of a president.

He also said that their talks focused on the electoral draft-law.

Aoun denied that the so-called Orthodox Gathering proposal is under discussion, al-Mashnouq added.

“Dialogue is ongoing between us. It has so far achieved cabinet stability and facilitated the success of the security plan,” the minister, who is an al-Mustaqbal official, told reporters in Rabieh on Monday after meeting with Aoun.

“I didn't convey any message to Aoun,” Mashnouq said.



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