Naharnet

Report: Jumblat Seeking to Settle Differences between Hariri, Aoun

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat is reportedly seeking to convince Mustaqbal Movement chief Saad Hariri to agree on demands by head of Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun concerning the appointment of Commando Regiment chief Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz as army chief.

Al-Akhbar newspaper reported that Jumblat contacted several parties, including Hizbulah, expressing his readiness to try to convince Hariri with accepting Aoun's demands.

“It's better to advice Hariri not to anger Aoun,” sources close to Jumblat told the daily.

The PSP chief reportedly told Hariri that “the appointment of Roukoz shouldn't be considered as a victory for Hizbullah as even the party's foes, including the United States, consider him qualified to assume such a post.”

Jumblat asked Hariri to reconsider his position.

However, sources close to Hariri told the newspaper that Jumblat's endeavors are useless as “Aoun cannot impose an army commander on us,” prompting FPM sources to stress that “Hariri cannot ensure the endurance.”

Conflicting reports emerged recently on whether Hariri agreed on the appointment of Roukoz as army chief.

The reports had said that Hariri informed Aoun about his consent on the appointment of Roukoz as military chief in return for the appointment of head of the Internal Security Force Information Branch Imad Othman as ISF chief.

Aoun has allegedly been seeking to receive political consensus on the appointment of Roukoz as army chief as part of a package for the appointment of other top security officers, but Aoun scrapped such reports.

Roukoz's tenure ends in October while the term of army commander Gen. Jean Qahwaji expires at the end of September.

The military posts in Lebanon are suffering as the result of the months-long presidential vacuum in light of the parliament's failure to elect a successor for Michel Suleiman whose tenure ended in May last year. The vacuum also threatens Internal Security Forces as chief Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous is set to retire in June.

H.K.

D.A.


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