Naharnet

Report: Jumblat Seeks to Resolve Dispute on Army Promotions

Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat is exerting efforts to resolve the army appointments crisis by trying to appease Change and Reform bloc leader lawmaker Michel Aoun and other parties through the promotion of only three army officers, al-Akhbar daily reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper said that Jumblat has tasked Health Minister Wael Abou Faour to hold contacts and meetings to assess whether the promotion of the three officers, including Commando Regiment chief Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz, is acceptable.

Abou Faour held talks with Defense Minister Samir Moqbel and Education Minister Elias Bou Saab, who is a Free Patriotic Movement official, on Monday.

The FPM has conditioned the activation of the government's work to the approval of the promotion of around 12 officers from brigadier-general to the rank of major-general.

Such a move leaves Roukoz in the military for another year.

Roukoz is the son-in-law of Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun, who wants him to become military commander.

The promotion of 12 officers is not likely to take place over the rejection of the army leadership, al-Mustaqbal Movement and the ministers representing former President Michel Suleiman in the cabinet.

But if the rival parties, mainly Aoun, agree on Jumblat's new initiative, then Moqbel would prepare a decree and refer it to the government for approval.

The FPM, which is now headed by Aoun's other son-in-law Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, has been insisting on putting the appointment of high-ranking military and security officers on the top of the cabinet agenda.

Its ministers and their allies have previously walked out of a session to impose their demands.


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