Naharnet

Aoun Says Not to Blame for Govt. Delay, Insists on 'Balanced Format'

President Michel Aoun stressed Monday that the responsibility for the ongoing delay in the Cabinet formation process does not fall on the Presidency or his political party, insisting that any line-up should be “balanced” in order to receive his approval.

“We are not the obstructing party,” Aoun told reporters aboard a plane that carried him to Strasbourg where he will take part in a special session for the European Parliament.

“When the format becomes balanced, the government will be formed according to the standards and principles which I had announced in my speech on August 1 and which is accepted by all parties,” the president added.

“It is unacceptable for any group or sect to monopolize representation or marginalize a certain party,” Aoun emphasized.

Responding to a question, the president noted that “the issue of jurisdiction is being used to deviate attention from the main issue, which is the formation of the Cabinet.”

“The Constitution stipulates partnership between the Presidency and the Premiership in the formation process. Let them explain the meaning of this to us. There is no room for alternative explanations in the presence of the constitutional text,” Aoun underlined.

The president also revealed that the Syrian refugee file will top his agenda in Strasbourg and that he would tackle the U.S. decision to halt funding for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

“This issue might represent the beginning of naturalization, and this is categorically rejected by the Lebanese constitution and all Lebanese,” Aoun warned.


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