Syria backing Aoun in cabinet formation


Speaker Nabih Berri’s adviser MP Ali Hassan Khalil and Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s political aide Hussein Khalil reportedly traveled to Damascus on Monday and Tuesday and met with Syrian officials to discuss Hezbollah and Amal’s desire to expedite the formation of the Lebanese cabinet.

The two reportedly “returned empty-handed ” Al-Markaziya news agency reported on Thursday.

Citing an anonymous political source, the report said that the Syrians are backing Aoun and have “clearly indicated that the task of addressing Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun’s demands lies on Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati’s shoulders.”

The demands of Aoun that he should have 11 out of the 30 ministerial posts is reportedly causing the delay of the cabinet formation.

During an interview with Central News Agency FPM MP Hikmat Deeb blamed Mikati for the delay and said : “Stalling over the government formation is no longer acceptable” He denied that Syria is behind the delay and said”:Damascus objects to the delay.”

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

Mikati was appointed in January as the PM designate with the backing of the Hezbollah March 8 alliance and MPs Walid Jumblatt and Mohammad Safadi following the collapse of Hariri’s unity government. March 14 leaders have repeatedly said that intimidation from Hezbollah’s weapons helped secure the parliamentary majority for Mikati’s nomination.