Hariri, Bassil Hold First Meeting since PM Resignation

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Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Free Patriotic Movement chief and caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil were on Monday holding their first meeting since the October 29 resignation of Hariri.

According to MTV, General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim played a mediation role to arrange the meeting.

“The meeting between Hariri and Bassil cannot be described as positive or negative because it was shrouded by confidentiality,” MTV added.

The TV network also described as “baseless and inaccurate” a media report published by the kataeb.org news website about the deliberations between Hariri and Bassil.

The website had reported that a preliminary agreement has been reached between Hariri and Bassil on forming a 24-minister cabinet headed by Hariri and allotting the so-called sovereign portfolios to Bassil, Ali Hassan Khalil of the AMAL Movement and Wael Abu Faour of the Progressive Socialist Party.

“Twenty ministers would be independent experts and two more sovereign portfolio ministers would be described as expert and independent but they would be associated with Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal Movement,” the website added.

“It has been agreed that the line-up would be accompanied by a policy statement promising major reform pledges in addition to a work plan whose implementation would involve the civil society, with the aim of calming street protests and sparing the ruling political class the bitter cup that it has been tasting since the revolution erupted on October 17,” kataeb.org said.

Hariri is reportedly seeking a government that would exclude figures that “provoke” large segments of the public opinion, such as Bassil, caretaker Telecom Minister Mohammed Choucair and caretaker Environment Minister Fadi Jreissati.

Bassil’s Free Patriotic Movement, Hizbullah and their allies are meanwhile opposed to Hariri’s re-designation as premier should Bassil be excluded from the new cabinet’s line-up, according to some media reports.

Source Naharnet

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