FPM won’t obstruct an agreement on a successor to Higher Defense Council Chief

General Mohammad Kheir
General Mohammad Kheir

The Free Patriotic Movement will not obstruct  an agreement  on  the appointment of a successor to Higher Defense Council chief Maj. Gen. Mohammed Kheir whose term ends on August 21, al-Akhbar daily reported on Thursday.

“We have decided to facilitate the road in front of the appointment of a successor to Maj. Gen. Kheir during the cabinet session that will be held on Thursday,” FPM sources told the daily.

“We will not oppose any of the names that will be suggested by Defense Minister Samir Moqbel to succeed Kheir. We will have no problem with that nor will Hezbollah, AMAL movement or the Progressive Socialist Party,” added the sources on condition of anonymity.

“Let Prime Minister Tammam Salam and theFuture  movement name whoever they wish to and we will agree on that. Extending terms is only discussed when there is difficulty in reaching an agreement. There is no need for extending terms as long as there is no problem with any of the names raised,” they added.

The sources stated that they refuse the principle of term extension in the military posts, “our new position is to facilitate the appointment in order to drop any argument for extension.”

Moqbel had in August last year postponed the retirement of Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji, Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Walid Salman and Higher Defense Council chief Maj. Gen. Mohammed Kheir, extending their terms by one year, after the political forces failed to reach an agreement on security and military appointments.

The cabinet will meet on Thursday to tackle several issues, and Moqbel plans to put forward the extension or appointment of a new Higher Defense Council chief.

No deal

Salam chaired a cabinet meeting on Thursday at the Grand Serail that failed to reach an agreement over the thorny issue of military appointments.

“No agreement was reached over the issue of military appointments after Defense Minister Samir Moqbel proposed three candidates,” Information Minister Ramzi Jreij announced after the session.

“The suggestion did not garner the needed number of votes,” he added.

“Everyone agrees that the right principle is making new appointments if there is consensus, or else the defense minister would act according to the jurisdiction vested in him by the law,” Jreij said.