Naharnet

Aoun 'Convinced' Foreign Meddling behind Govt. Delay

President Michel Aoun has become “convinced” that “foreign interference” is behind the ongoing delay in the Cabinet formation process, sources close to him have said.

In remarks to UAE's al-Khaleej newspaper published Sunday, the sources said the president believes foreign meddling is pushing Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat to show “inflexibility” in their demands.

“President Aoun absolves PM-designate Saad Hariri of the obstruction accusation and believes that he is confused, seeing as he (Hariri) fears a clash with these foreign forces at this stage and is trying as much as possible to avoid a clash with Geagea and Jumblat,” the sources added.

“President Aoun does not want to cause irreversible damage to his ties with Hariri and has not pressed him to accept a government format based on majority rule, but he is questioning the delay and regretting that foreign forces have interfered in the crisis,” the sources went on to say.

Hariri was tasked with forming a new government on May 24. His mission is being hampered by political wrangling over shares, especially over Christian and Druze representation. Some parties such as Hizbullah and the Free Patriotic Movement have suggested that foreign countries, especially Saudi Arabia, are behind the ongoing delay.

Hariri told reporters Tuesday that the new government “will not be formed” should the pro-Damascus camp “insist on restoring Lebanese-Syrian ties.” But pro-Hizbullah journalist Salem Zahran said Friday that the PM-designate has “informed Hizbullah” that his remarks were a “slip of the tongue.”


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