Mikati: I will decide who will be in the cabinet


Prime Minister–designate Najib Mikati said during an interview with Al-Hayat newspaper to be published on Sunday that “the repercussions of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s (STL) pending indictment on Lebanon is is an issue needs to be resolved.”

“The issue of the STL’s repercussions on Lebanon is not in my hands, but is part of the framework of a national dialogue and Arab collaboration ,” the PM-designate said.

Mikati reiterated his commitment protecting the Resistance and to the National Dialogue Conference agreement of 2006 regarding achieving justice.

He revealed that MP Walid Jumblatt “was the first to nominate him as PM designate .

Mikati added that he will not accept ministerial portfolios being imposed on him, adding that he will “choose the appropriate people” to take part in his cabinet.

Mikati said he had asked Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun to give him names and qualifications but stressed that he will “personally choose the right person for the job. ”

He described as a ” passing cloud” the current crisis between him and Hariri.

“Hariri and I cannot become a cause for a Sunni-Sunni dispute,” he stressed.

Earlier today Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea accused during an interview with the Voice of Free Lebanon the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition of seeking to form of a “Hezbollah-Syria” cabinet in Lebanon.

“A one-sided Cabinet means a Syrian-Hezbollah government in Lebanon,” Geagea said

Wait says EU

Central News Agency reported on Saturday that the European Union has advised Mikati to wait until after the STL indictment before forming the Cabinet.

CNA said political leaders who have just returned from Europe quoted European officials as saying that there are two key considerations to take into account before a Cabinet formation:

1- To ease Sunni tension in the streets so that a government is formed in a calm atmosphere.

2- To learn the content of the indictment and its implications at the domestic level in order to shape the new government in light of what the new political scene may produce.

They said the indictment will be issued during February or early in March.

“The indictment is going to cause an earthquake in Lebanon,” one Western official was quoted as saying. He refused, however, to reveal contents of the indictment.

The Iranian- and Syria-backed Hezbollah brought down PM Saad Hariri’s government on January 12 over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s ( STL) indictment which is widely expected to implicate Hezbollah members in the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri in 2005 .

Mikati, who was backed by Hezbollah and its March 8 allies including Jumblatt and Mohammad Safadi, was appointed by president Michel Suleiman as PM-designate to form and head the next cabinet , giving Hezbollah and its allies increased leverage in the country and provoking widespread protests.