Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati said in an interview published on Tuesday that despite the rejection of March 14 to participate in his government, he was confident he would succeed in forming a cabinet
“I can wait. I don’t want a one-sided cabinet and I won’t announce a government (lineup) that doesn’t include at least 10 or 15 ministers that I would be proud of,” he told An Nahar.
“March 14’s declaration of non-participation in the cabinet pained me the most, since we had reached an understanding, or almost had,” Mikati said.
“They left us – the president and I – to confront the situation alone,” he said.
“Yes, the way Saad Hariri’s government was overthrown was insulting. I understand the reaction,” he added.
Mikati said that he refuses the abandonment of Lebanon’s international commitments towards the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which probes 2005 assassination of Lebanese former PM Rafik Hariri.
In response to a question over cooperation with STL Mikati said : “We cannot meet all the demands of the court from the Lebanese government because it could torpedo stability.”
Mikati also said that he rejects Syrian or any foreign intervention in the formation of Lebanon’s cabinet.
Mikati tried to form a national unity government of 24 to 30 ministers , however, the March 14 Alliance announced last week they would not participate , and called for the removal of non-state arms ( for being pointed against the Lebanese citizens ), in reference to Hezbollah’s use of the arms internally since 2006 for securing political advantages
Mikati addressed March 14 ‘s campaign against non-state weapons, by saying that “weapons are a critical and sensitive issue. We must sit together and discuss the issue.”
Mikati called on Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun to “reduce his conditions and drop one or two ministers from his list of demands.”
LBC TV reported Monday that the cabinet formation process is stalling and day after day it is becoming evident that the formation process is being influenced by foreign developments.
Future Movement also issued a statement on Monday in which it said that the delay in cabinet formation is due to “the internal disputes within the March 8 parties.”
The main obstacle is reportedly due to the dispute over the Interior Ministry portfolio between Aoun and Suleiman.
Aoun said last month that Suleiman has no right to shares in the cabinet and should form his own political party if he wants to be involved in politics.
Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance brought down PM Saad Hariri’s government on January 12 over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s imminent 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 allies including MP Walid Jumblatt and Mohammad Safadi, was appointed on January 25 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 protest.
Jumblatt and his PSP parliament members reportedly switched allegiance to Hezbollah’s PM candidate, following threats by Hezbollah.
Jumblatt, Mikati and Safadi were all elected on March 14 electoral tickets during the 2009 parliamentary elections.
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