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Hezbollah, Amal passive toward Hariri proposal despite French backing

Source: Annahar
Georgi Azar
Resigned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad, right, arrives to attend a military parade to mark the 76th anniversary of Lebanon's independence from France at the Lebanese Defense Ministry, in Yarzeh near Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. (AP Photo)
Resigned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad, right, arrives to attend a military parade to mark the 76th anniversary of Lebanon's independence from France at the Lebanese Defense Ministry, in Yarzeh near Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. (AP Photo)
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BEIRUT: France welcomed on Wednesday former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s move to end the gridlock preventing the formation of a government, which received a tepid response from the Shiite duo of Hezbollah and Amal Movement. 

In a bid to mend bridges and break the deadlock, Hariri agreed Tuesday on endorsing an “independent” Shiite candidate for the hotly contested finance ministry. 

“I decided to help Prime Minister-designate Moustapha Adib find a way out by naming an independent Shiite finance minister,” Hariri said, in the hopes of salvaging French President Emmanuel Macron’s initiative. 

Macron has been urging Lebanon’s political class to form a miniature government whose sole purpose would be to implement pressing reforms to lead the small Mediterranean country out of its existential crisis. 

Hezbollah and Amal have yet to comment on Hariri’s latest proposal, with sources telling Annahar that Prime Minister-designate Moustapha Adib is anxiously awaiting their response before reengaging with President Michel Aoun. 

Adib, who was nominated after securing the majority of parliamentarians’ votes earlier this month, had sought to rotate Lebanon’s sovereign ministries among the largest sects. 

This includes the Finance, Interior and Foreign Ministries. The Finance Ministry, which must sign off on all decrees that entail spending, has been headed by affiliates of House Speaker and head of the Amal Movement Nabih Berri for almost a decade. 

Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militant group, strongly rejected Adib’s stance last week, demanding to name all their representatives in any upcoming government. 

The group, which has found itself in a precarious position as a result of local and regional turmoil, was dealt another blow Tuesday after a massive explosion rocked one of its weapons depots in south Lebanon. 

The president, sources say, is yet to meet with Hezbollah representatives following the latest political developments. 

Adib, in line with Lebanon’s constitution, must present Aoun with a Cabinet lineup but is not constrained by any timeframe. 

Aoun can then either sign it and turn it over to parliament for a vote of confidence or reject it.

The government should “work on implementing the economic, financial and monetary reforms that were agreed upon by all parties,” Adib said in a statement Tuesday. 

He urged the rival political parties to cooperate and pave the way for the formation of a cabinet made up “of specialists who are capable of regaining the trust of the Arab and international community.”
 
Only then would Lebanon be able to attract the necessary financial support to lift its fledgling economy, he added.
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