Report: Aoun-Hariri Ties ‘Intact’, President 'Weighing Options' if Formation Delay Persists
Relations between President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri are “not broken” because of conflict over the Cabinet formation, and the two men are holding contacts on a daily basis away from media spotlight, al-Akhbar daily reported on Saturday.
“Contacts between the president and premier are not broken. There are daily contacts between the two either by phone or through delegates, but there is no need to announce this each time it happens,” sources close to Aoun told the daily.
“The President wants a government to be formed before he takes part in the upcoming foreign conferences and events," they said, referring to Aoun's warnings that he might take action if the delay persists.
"The first will be the opening of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on September 12 where Aoun will be the guest of the year and will deliver an important speech,” they.
“He will then lead the Lebanese delegation to attend the works of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 24, where he will deliver Lebanon's speech on 26 September.
“It is important that Aoun goes to these conferences after the government has been formed, because it would have a positive reflection on the unity of the Lebanese position on the issues at hand,” they added.
However, shall the delay in lining up the government persist, “one of Aoun’s options is to explain to the Lebanese the reasons hampering the formation. However, that will only happen after Aoun has a word with Hariri about the decisions the latter plans to take,” they added.
Early this week, Aoun has warned that the timeframe for forming the new government is "not open-ended," hinting that he might take action in early September.
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.