No Solution Looming in Horizon on Cabinet Crisis

Lebanon has likely plunged in an open-ended cabinet crisis after consultations on the controversial issue of the appointment of high-ranking security and military officials failed to produce results.

Speaker Nabih Berri did not confirm to his visitors whether Prime Minister Tammam Salam would be able to call for a cabinet session this month or if the paralysis would last longer than the holy month of Ramadan which starts on Thursday.

Berri stressed that the PM is in charge with putting the cabinet agenda in the absence of a president. “No minister can interfere on the agenda but he can make objections during a session.”

The speaker, whose remarks were published in al-Joumhouria newspaper on Wednesday, was referring to warnings made by Free Patriotic Movement officials.

The FPM and their allies Hizbullah, the Marada Movement and the Tashnag Party have said they would stop the government from discussing any issue before addressing appointments of the top security and military officials.

Aoun has been lobbying for the appointment of his son-in-law, Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz, the head of the Army Commando Regiment, as military chief.

An Nahar daily quoted officials close to Salam as saying that he would continue his consultations with the concerned parties upon his return on Thursday from a one-day visit to Cairo.

The PM has suspended the sessions over fears that the dispute would lead to a clash among the rival parties.

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