Hariri postpones meeting with Aoun to Wednesday


Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri called President Michel Aoun on Tuesday and requested that a meeting between them be postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday, National News Agency reported.

According to Al-Jadeed TV Hariri requested the postponement due to an “urgent appointment.”

The PM-designate “did not specify a time, which means that the meeting will take place following Hariri’s return from Cairo,” al-Jadeed added.

Hariri was planning to visit the Baabda Palace on Tuesday to submit a 24-minister cabinet line-up in line with Speaker Nabih Berri’s initiative, 

According to Annahar daily the revised line-up would comprise “independents and specialists.”

“After his visit to Baabda today and his meeting with Aoun, Haririwas planning to visit Cairo Wednesday for talks with (Egyptian) President (Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi before returning to Beirut the same evening,” Annahar reported .

“Should Aoun reject the new line-up, Hariri is likely to resort to the choice of stepping down and will announce it in a TV interview on Thursday evening,” the daily added.

Future Movement deputy head Mustafa Alloush had said Monday that Hariri would step down at the end of the week to pave the way for parliamentary consultations to name a new premier.

Aoun meanwhile tweeted Tuesday that “whoever wants to criticize the President over his jurisdiction in the formation of governments must read well the fourth clause of the constitution’s Article 53.”

According to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, the Egyptian leadership “does not recommend that Hariri abstain from forming a government.”

The Egyptian position coincides with Russia’s, who also voiced its support for Hariri forming the next Lebanese government when the PM met with the Russian envoy to the Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov.

Former prime ministers discussed the idea of ​​naming an alternative to Hariri, but it was rejected,” because they refused “to let Aoun — who has been known to obstruct the formation of a Lebanese government — have his way .

The upcoming meeting between the Egyptian president and and Hariri constitutes a major political chapter in the context of Hariri’s Arab and international consultations, according to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper