Lebanon’s Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun said on Saturday the dispute with Hezbollah will not affect the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that he signed with them in February 2006 despite disagreements on local issues.
“The understanding with Hezbollah will not change but firm stances need to be taken regarding some internal issues.” Aoun said in an interview with Hezbollah’s Al Noor radio on Saturday.
Differences between the FPM and Hezbollah and Amal began emerging late May over the extension of parliament’s term, which Aoun opposed, and more recently over the extension of Army chief Gen. Jean Kahwaji’s mandate.
While Hezbollah enjoys excellent relationship with Kahwaji, Aoun wants his son-in-law Shamel Roukoz to replace the army chief. General Roukoz is the commander of Lebanon’s Commando Regiment that led the recent operation against Salafist Cleric Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir and his supporters in Sidon’s Abra,
Aoun’s comments appeared to corroborate a report in al-Akhbar daily on Friday that Hezbollah officials have contacted Aoun to confirm that the party was committed to having a united stance with Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal movement.
His comments also came after Berri said that the March 8 alliance of Hezbollah, Amal and the FPM was finished on issues linked to their shares in the new cabinet.
He accused Premier-designate Tammam Salam of setting conditions that were “impossible” to implement.
Salam is sticking to his proposal that calls for a 24-member cabinet, in which the March 8 , March14 and the centrists would get 8 ministers each.But March 8 is insisting on veto power, which Salam opposes.
Aoun told the station that based on the size his parliamentary bloc he should be getting anywhere between 11 to 13 ministers in the cabinet.
Aoun said he wouldn’t participate in the cabinet if Hezbollah is not allowed to join it
Rapprochement with Hariri
Asked about a report in al-Akhbar daily on Saturday about a rapprochement between him and Future movement leader and former PM Saad Hariri, Aoun welcomed any such move among the Lebanese parties.
“Rapprochement and stability are for all the Lebanese,” he said without confirming the report.
“The Saudis are seeking for rapprochement among the Lebanese for the sake of stability,” the MP added.
Aoun and Hariri have recently had “indirect contacts,” FPM sources told al-Akhbar.
This development comes after a visit that Saudi Ambassador Ali Awadh Asiri made to Aoun earlier in the month, according to al-Akhbar sources
Commenting to ambassador Asiri’s criticism of Hezbollah during his visit with him , Aoun said :
“Asiri’s criticism targeting Hezbollah represents the position of his country but the talks I held with him were ‘positive.'”
Aoun was reportedly told by Asiri that he is welcome to visit Saudi Arabia but the road to the kingdom passes through the Future Movement .
There were unconfirmed reports that Aoun is planning a visit to Paris to meet with Hariri prior to visiting the kingdom, but both Aoun and Hariri denied the reports.
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