Hariri Wants to Meet Bassil before Talks with Aoun

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri prefers to hold talks with Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil over the government line-up before meeting President Michel Aoun, media reports said.

“Hariri will not visit Aoun carrying any draft Cabinet line-up except after a meeting he will hold anytime before the end of the week with FPM chief Minister Jebran Bassil,” al-Joumhouria newspaper reported Friday.

“Hariri's agreement with the Lebanese Forces on giving it four portfolios not including a sovereign portfolio or the deputy PM post will not become final unless Bassil accepts it, knowing that Hariri has not yet agreed with the LF on the type of the four portfolios pending his meeting with Bassil,” the daily quoted informed sources as saying.

“The latter could voice an opposing stance, especially that what the FPM circles are saying does not call for optimism,” the sources added.

The sources, however, noted that a Hariri-Bassil meeting is likely to be held in the coming hours, while the meeting between the PM-designate and Aoun is expected Saturday or Sunday.

The sources also pointed out that Hariri had formed his now-caretaker government on a Sunday in late 2016.

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