Naharnet

Aoun Set to Tackle Appointments, Dialogue in Important Speech

Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun is expected to announce on Sunday an important stance from the controversial military and security appointments and his possible boycott of the national dialogue.

Aoun is set to give a speech during a ceremony that will be held on the occasion of handing over the Free Patriotic Movement leadership to his son-in-law Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil.

Sources close to Aoun told An Nahar daily on Saturday that the blatant extension of the terms of high-ranking army and security officials will prolong the country's political crisis.

The Change and Reform leader has rejected the extensions, calling for the appointment of new officials.

The issue has caused huge differences among cabinet members, leading to almost paralysis.

Aoun wants to strike a deal on the promotion of army brigadier generals to the rank of major general before Oct. 15 when the term of Commando Regiment chief Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz ends.

The promotion will keep Roukoz, his son-in-law, in the army and make him eligible to become military commander.

Aoun, a candidate, has also called for direct elections to resolve Lebanon's presidential deadlock which erupted in May last year when the term of Michel Suleiman ended.

The rival March 8 and 14 camps have failed to agree on a successor over their differences on a compromise candidate.

Aoun did not attend the second round of all-party talks that were chaired by Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday. He delegated Bassil instead.

“What would we do in a dialogue in which the other party rejects to discuss” ways to grant the people the right to choose their president? the sources asked.

MP Alain Aoun told al-Joumhouria newspaper that the Change and Reform bloc has not yet taken the final decision to boycott the national dialogue.

“It is still giving it a chance to reach a solution on the different issues that are under discussion,” he said.


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