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Reports: Mustaqbal Approves Promotions Deal as Cabinet Likely to Convene Friday

Al-Mustaqbal Movement has reportedly approved a proposal for the government to approve military promotions, a step forward to resolve the cabinet crisis over the issue which is a key demand of Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun.

As Safir daily said Tuesday that al-Mustaqbal added a condition on the promotions, calling for the appointment of a new director-general and a new command council for the Internal Security Forces.

MP Salim Salhab did not confirm to Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) that al-Mustaqbal approved the appointments, only saying that Prime Minister Tammam Salam's call for a cabinet session would be a sign that a deal has been struck among the rival leaders.

As Safir said that Speaker Nabih Berri, who heads Amal Movement, Aoun, Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat and the leadership of Hizbullah have already approved the proposal.

But the army leadership will be inquired on the issue, which will likely include the appointment of five new members for the military council, including those whose terms have been extended, meaning Army Commander Gen. Jean Qahwaji and Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Walid Salman.

The proposal also includes the promotion of three officers – a Maronite, a Sunni and a Shiite - from the rank of brigadier-general to major-general.

The post of Commando Regiment chief Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz, who is Aoun's son-in-law, would be decided by Qahwaji after he gets promoted to the rank of major-general, said As Safir.

The approval of the appointments and promotions are key for Salam to call for a cabinet session.

Ministerial sources told al-Joumouria newspaper that the cabinet could convene on Friday following Salam's return from New York where he is attending the General Assembly session.

But according to As Safir, the Kataeb Party and the ministers representing former President Michel Suleiman have not yet given their green light to the promotions.

G.K.

D.A.


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