The Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri announced Tuesday that the new government “will not be formed” should certain parties “insist on restoring Lebanese-Syrian ties.”
“If others insist on restoring Lebanese-Syrian ties from the gateway of the reopened Nassib border crossing, then the government will not be formed,” Hariri said in a chat with reporters, referring to a key border crossing on the Syrian-Jordanian border that has been recently recaptured by Damascus.
“I do not agree to a restoration of Lebanese-Syrian ties and this is nonnegotiable,” Hariri added.
The PM-designate however stressed that “the obstacle is purely the result of Lebanese failure,” emphasizing that “the relation with Saudi Arabia is excellent” and that the kingdom is “urging us to speed up the formation process.”
“We still need some time to reach a final government format. It is true that there is no progress until the moment but there are no more tensions among the parties,” Hariri added.
Calling for the formation of a “national unity Cabinet in which all parties would cooperate,” the PM-designate said: “We’ve gotten rid of March 8 and March 14 and the cards have been reshuffled.”
“There will be no turning back,” he went on to say.
Confirming that the Free Patriotic Movement and President Michel Aoun have agreed to get a combined share of “ten seats,” Hariri revealed that the Lebanese Forces has “rejected a proposal to get four key ministerial portfolios as a compensation for not getting a sovereign portfolio.”
“The LF are honest about their demand to get a sovereign portfolio and nothing prevents that and we’re seeking an exit that would satisfy everyone,” the PM-designate added.
And describing Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat as a “key component of the country who has won the elections in his strongholds,” Hariri said “the two parties must calm their rhetoric,” in reference to the war of words between Jumblat and Lebanese Democratic Party leader MP Talal Arslan.
“I do not like to pin the blame on a certain party and we all know what the obstacles are. I will visit the president when there is something new to present,” the PM-designate added.
Hariri was tasked with forming a new government on May 24. His mission is being hampered by political wrangling over shares, especially over Christian and Druze representation. Some parties such as Hizbullah and the Free Patriotic Movement have suggested that some countries, especially Saudi Arabia, are behind the ongoing delay.