Sources: March 8 to Meet with Salam again over Failure to Agree on Type of New Cabinet

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A meeting held between Premier-designate Tammam Salam and a delegation from the Hizbullah-led March 8 coalition will be followed by more talks after they failed to strike a deal on the nature of the new cabinet over Salam's insistence to form a neutral government, sources said.

“We discussed with him our point of view on the need for a cabinet of political figures that represent all parties and Salam informed us that he prefers a government of neutral” figures, the sources of the delegation told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat published Sunday.

“So we didn't reach any agreement and decided to hold another meeting,” they said.

The delegation that included caretaker Ministers Ali Hassan Khalil and Jebran Bassil, former Minister Youssef Saadeh, MP Hagop Pakradounian, and the Hizbullah leader's political assistant Hussein Khalil visited Salam at his residence in al-Msaitbeh on Saturday.

However, the Lebanese Democratic Party of MP Talal Arslan did not participate in the talks, saying the meeting "did not represent the party and its viewpoint on the formation of the cabinet.”

Arslan seems to have fallen out of the March 8 alliance.

Saturday's meeting came after the alliance asked Salam for the formation of a national unity cabinet at a time when the March 14 coalition called for a government whose main task would be to supervise the elections.

March 8 sources told al-Hayat that it was natural for Salam not to be able to satisfy all political parties. “But he shouldn't lose those who nominated him for the premiership.”

But sources close to the premier-designate refused to comment to An Nahar newspaper on the details of the meeting.

Salam said at the end of two days of consultations with lawmakers on the formation of the cabinet that he was switching to the Off mode and would not make any statement to the media.

The sources of the delegation, which also refused to divulge any information about the meeting, told An Nahar that the talks did not discuss the details of the portfolios.

But the March 8 representatives asked Salam whether his intention to form a cabinet that will supervise the elections meant that the government will not deal with security issues or the situation on the border with Syria or the exploration of oil, the sources said.

The representatives seemed to be hinting to Salam that only a cabinet of political figures is capable of dealing with these pressing issues.

Comments 1
Thumb BritishLebanese 14 April 2013, 11:02

A Neutral Govt is perfect for current situation in Lebanon.
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" March 8 representatives asked Salam whether his intention to form a cabinet that will supervise the elections meant that the government will not deal with security issues or the situation on the border with Syria or the exploration of oil, the sources said."
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Neutral Govt hopefully means they work towards securing Election Laws & Elections with nominees for PM & act neutrally on situations of Security, etc . Rest is huffing & puffing like the typical scene Beirut Politics has shown us over the years. Pushing out goal posts wont do any good unless to process new election laws. Wonder how it all pans out..