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Friday, June 6, 2008

Hariri Suspends Talks on New Cabinet Line-up

05/06/2008 Source Al-manar

While Lebanese were hoping the national unity government, agreed on in Doha, would finally see light to put an end to all disputes over ministerial seats and open the way for stability and prosperity in the country, an unexpected decision by MP Saad Hariri's Future Parliamentary bloc is likely to stall the whole process.

Without prior notice, the Future bloc announced Wednesday suspending talks over the cabinet line-up, under the pretext of an individual incident a day earlier near the Kuwaiti embassy in Beirut. Armed men reportedly opened fire at one Future Movement official in the area. He was identified as Imad Zaghloul.

Hariri put his decision in the framework of protest at what he called slack security in Beirut in the wake of repeated security breaches," urging Arab intervention to investigate facts.

Speaking to the Arab daily Al-Hayat, Hariri called on the Arab ministerial committee to "dispatch an Arab envoy immediately to investigate the facts in Beirut to guarantee implementation of the security part of the Doha agreement." "Does this atmosphere help solve the problems facing the cabinet line-up?" Hariri asked, claiming that "persistent attacks and provocations only complicate matters instead of turning a new page."

The unpredicted decision coincided with a visit made by Prime Minister-Designate Fouad Saniora to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri that was the first of its kind since the end of parliamentary consultations last week.

Saniora informed Berri on the Future bloc decision, what prompted the Speaker to call up Hariri in an effort to redirect things. Berri assured Hariri that Beirut's security would improve, stressing what should be done is that a new government assumes, through its security, military and judiciary bodies, responsibilities and protect citizens regardless of their political or sectarian affiliations.

The individual incident reminded of other recent security incidents in Beirut parallel to the many breaches by the pro-loyalty media to the media truce as stipulated in the Doha Accord.

For his part, Saniora said the issue must be "looked into,' yet insisted on continuing talks to form the longed for national-unity government.

After meeting Berri, he told journalists the government formula was progressing rapidly and reiterated he is not committed to a specific time to announce the new government as much as he's committed to the "quality of the government."

According to the Lebanese daily As-Safir, Saniora didn't brief Berri of any line up formula for the new cabinet, citing (opposition and loyalty) demands that still need to be addressed.

Meanwhile, Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman said on Wednesday there are some obstacles that are hindering the formation of the new cabinet, but stressed that all obstacles can be overcome through dialogue.

Speaking to a delegation of Arab ambassadors, Suleiman denied earlier reports that some foreign parties were pressuring him to nominate certain people for the next cabinet. "There is no party that can pressure the Presidential Palace in Baabda We are only ready to move under the pressure of national and Arab interests," Suleiman stressed.

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