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Lebanon: Officials Rush to Prevent Government ‘Implosion’

Lebanon: Officials Rush to Prevent Government ‘Implosion’

Friday, 16 November, 2018 - 09:15
Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Abdullatif Derian meets with caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil (Dar Al-Iftaa)
Beirut - Caroline Akoum
Lebanon’s politicians have been engaged in intense talks to resolve what is known as “the Sunni obstacle” preventing the formation of the government.

Hezbollah has pushed for Sunni politicians allied to the group but opposed to Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri to be represented in the future cabinet.

In a radio interview on Thursday, Hezbollah MP Walid Sukkarieh reiterated the position of the independent Sunni deputies and their right to be represented in the government, adding that the prime minister-designate “has to find the most appropriate way to proceed with the formation process.”

Well-informed sources have stressed, however, that the ongoing political efforts, especially those deployed by caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, were no longer focused on finding a solution to this obstacle, but rather to obtain guarantees that the new government would be able to assume its duties without internal bickering.
 
“The problem is no longer about a portfolio or another; what is required today is guarantees from various parties to avoid an implosion. If this goal is achieved, then all the obstacles, including the Sunni representation problem, would wither away,” the sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
 
They added that Bassil held several meetings with the country’s religious authorities in this regard. The minister has recently met with Grand Mufti Abdullatif Derian and held talks on Thursday with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai.

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