Miqati’s Circles Accuse Aoun of Turning Against Cabinet Deal, Say Wise Men Remain Silent

Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s circles have snapped back at Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun expressing “surprise” at his demands and accusing him of turning against an alleged deal reached on the new cabinet more than a month ago.

In remarks to several Beirut newspapers, the circles denied that Miqati was behind the delay in the formation of the government, saying the prime minister-designate was rejecting Aoun’s new demands after the FPM chief turned against an agreement reached between the different parties.

They said Aoun began asking for 9 portfolios and two state ministers without including MP Talal Arslan in his share almost a month after reaching a deal to get 8 ministers with portfolios and two state ministers.

In addition to that, the FPM chief rejected a demand by President Michel Suleiman for a second Maronite minister in the new cabinet, Miqati’s circles said.

Miqati’s visitors also quoted him as saying that after consensus on retired Internal Security Forces Maj. Gen. Marwan Charbel to lead the interior ministry, the billionaire businessman held onto his stance not to put the telecommunications and energy ministries within the share of a single political party or a single parliamentary bloc.

This decision is another contention point between Miqati and Aoun who is seeking to keep both portfolios as part of his Change and Reform bloc’s share.

The circles expressed “surprise” at the rhetoric adopted by Aoun, but stressed that “wise men remain silent.”

They urged all parties to overcome the violent rhetoric “which won’t do any good” and called for helping Miqati achieve success in forming the new cabinet to solve the “accumulated” problems and face “the most dangerous period in the history of the region.”

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