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Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun told reporters after the movement’s weekly meeting that there is collusion between foreign and domestic parties to prevent his bloc from being granted the ministry of Interior .

“ Certain domestic and foreign parties have common security interests between them… and this is why they do not want to grant us the Interior Ministry, which is responsible for internal security .”

Aoun also told reporters that the majority and not the minority should be granted major ministries, adding “We are simply demanding what is our right.”

Aoun defended Hezbollah over the May 2008 clashes and blamed the incident on the government of former PM Fouad Siniora. Aoun was referring to the May 2008 uprising by Hezbollah when the Iranian and Syrian backed militant group occupied the western part of Beirut and tried but failed to occupy Mt Lebanon . More than one hundred Lebanese died during the Hezbollah uprising .

“I have suspicions regarding all those who cover up for those who are not forming a cabinet, ” a possible reference to Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt

Aoun also said that even if the issue of the Interior Ministry is resolved, there would only be more issues to resolve related to other ministries like the Energy Ministry.

He added that there is no will or intent to form a cabinet.

Turning to Speaker Nabih Berri he said:

“The legislative authority is independent from the executive one as demonstrated in the past. We therefore call on the speaker to call parliament to session so we can approve laws.”

Jumblatt’s statement

In an interview with As Safir newspaper in remarks published on Tuesday Aoun responded to Jumblatt’s Monday statement by saying:

“If Walid Jumblatt was so disdainful, then let him give up the public works ministry first and withdraw his unprecedented demands ” and added “blaming the new majority for the impasse is wrong and does not reflect the truth.”

Jumblatt said yesterday that “neither his PSP party nor his National Struggle Front parliamentary bloc can any longer cover up for the vacuum and obstruction of constitutional institutions by the new majority that has failed miserably in forming a new government.”

Hezbollah’s mouthpiece al-Manar, in its turn, said that Jumblatt’s stance clearly absolved PM Designate Nagib Mikati from the accusations of delaying the formation of the cabinet.

Delay

According to observers Mikati has not been able to form the cabinet yet because Hezbollah is reportedly creating obstacles for insisting on including in the cabinet Faisal Karami , son of former PM Omar Karami as the representative of the Sunnis. Hezbollah is also reportedly hiding behind MP Michel Aoun’s renewed demand for the ministry of Interior even though it was agreed earlier in March that the ministry will go to the centrist bloc of President Suleiman, Mikati and Jumblatt.

Hezbollah brought down PM Saad 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.

Lebanon has been run by a caretaker government since last January. Mikati was appointed in January as the PM designate with the backing of the Hezbollah led-March 8 alliance, Jumblatt and Mohammad Safadi . March 14 leaders have repeatedly said that intimidation from Hezbollah’s weapons helped secure the parliamentary majority for Mikati’s nomination.

During an interview with MTV Monday evening Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea Commented on the reason behind the delay in cabinet formation : “Hezbollah and Syria, which are the main players in the new ( March 8) majority, want a “confrontational ” cabinet that will void the protocols signed with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and that will be a cover up for Hezbollah arms, while president Michel Suleiman and PM Designate Nagib Mikqati want a cabinet that resembles them and somehow represents the Lebanese situation.”

Geagea added: “Given the status of the defense ministry, they want to get the interior ministry portfolio to enable them to be in full control of the security situation in the country.”

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