Miqati Adopts ‘Silent Diplomacy’ to Form ‘Strong Cabinet’

Premier-designate Najib Miqati is mulling to form a 24-member “strong cabinet” through “silent diplomacy,” the billionaire businessman and his circles told An Nahar newspaper.

Miqati said in remarks published Saturday that he was seeking to form “a strong cabinet that would launch a relentless work through competent ministers.”

His circles told An Nahar that Miqati would adopt a “silent diplomacy” to reach the expected results and satisfy his ambition of including the March 14 forces in the new cabinet.

However, if March 14 refuses to participate in the government, “all options would be available,” the circles said.

Discussions are ongoing on the formation of a 24-member cabinet and Miqati is “comfortable and optimistic on reaching encouraging results,” they added.

Caretaker Labor Minister Butros Harb told As Safir daily that March 14 was engaged in dialogue with Miqati as a “single team.”

“We either enter (the cabinet) together or we don’t,” he said. “However, we won’t accept to participate if we will become inefficient.”

Last month, Hizbullah toppled Saad Hariri’s government and succeeded in ushering Miqati in to replace him, thanks to the key parliamentary votes of its Christian and Druze allies.

The move prompted a wave of anger among Hariri’s allies, who accuse Hizbullah of a "coup" and of attempting to unilaterally control government.

However, President Michel Suleiman defended Miqati’s appointment as democratic. “It is a democratic process. What happened in Lebanon was the rotation of power in a democratic manner,” Suleiman told a delegation of Kuwaiti journalists on Friday.

“Consultations are continuing to issue the decree on the formation of the new government in agreement with the prime minister,” Suleiman said.

But the new cabinet is unlikely to be announced before the middle of next week as Monday and Tuesday are official holidays.

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