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Cautious optimism about a possible Lebanese government this week

The US congressional delegation that visited Lebanon on Wednesday left bearing “joyful” news about the possibility of a government before the end of the week. (File/AP)
The US congressional delegation that visited Lebanon on Wednesday left bearing “joyful” news about the possibility of a government before the end of the week. (File/AP)
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03 Sep 2021 01:09:38 GMT9
03 Sep 2021 01:09:38 GMT9
  • The Lebanese government has been in caretaker mode since August 2020

Najia Houssari

BEIRUT: Several obstacles in the way of forming a government in Lebanon have been removed, according to local politicians.

The US congressional delegation that visited Lebanon on Wednesday left bearing “joyful” news about the possibility of a government before the end of the week, based on its meeting with key political figures.

However, statements showed caution on Thursday.

MP Ali Darwish, a member of the parliamentary bloc headed by Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati, told Arab News: “We can talk about cautious optimism. The process of forming the government has come a long way, but it is not over yet. We cannot say that a government will be formed this week until a decree makes it official.”

Darwish added: “There are still some outstanding issues, but they are essential since they revolve around the required balance the government needs to achieve to gain the confidence of the international community.”

The Lebanese government has been in caretaker mode since August 2020.

Information leaked on Wednesday night revealed that the director-general of General Security, Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, who mediated between Aoun and Mikati, had succeeded in removing obstacles related to some ministerial portfolios.

Darwish hoped that a government would be formed this week. However, he noted: “There is no specific deadline for the 14th meeting between Mikati and Aoun. When Mikati sees that things have been accomplished, he will go to the presidential palace. He has fulfilled his duty and wants to maintain positivity, but no meeting has yet been set. Mikati is no one’s pawn and he bases his decisions on national constants.”

MP George Atallah of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) bloc, Aoun’s political team, said that Mikati “sometimes follows the lead of the former prime ministers. On paper, a government has been formed, but in reality, there is no government unless a decree is issued.”

Darwish said he hoped that consensus between Aoun and Mikati would be the basis for any agreement, rather than any external factors.

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