Lebanon’s Hariri says government formation may take more time

Lebanese Prime Minister designate Saad Al-Hariri said it may take more time to form a government despite elections having taking place on May 6. (Reuters)
Updated 14 August 2018
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Lebanon’s Hariri says government formation may take more time

  • Lebanese politicians have repeatedly warned that the country urgently needs to put a government in place, but they have jostled over cabinet positions
  • Lebanon’s tangled sectarian politics, has Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Christians and Druze competing among themselves for ministries

BEIRUT: It may take Lebanese parties more time to form a coalition government, prime minister designate Saad Al-Hariri said on Tuesday more than three months after the general election.
“Perhaps we need more time to arrive at a final formula,” he said to reporters before a meeting of members of parliament from his party in Beirut.
Lebanese politicians have repeatedly warned that the country — which has one of the world’s highest rates of public debt — urgently needs to put a government in place, but they have jostled over cabinet positions.
“There is no doubt that some sides still stick to their terms, but, as we see, all of them retreat and concede a little,” he said, adding that the new government needed to include all sides.
The May 6 elections delivered a majority for the Shiite Hezbollah and its parliamentary allies, a reversal of the previous vote in 2009, when groups with Western and Saudi support won most seats.
The result has further complicated Lebanon’s tangled sectarian politics, as Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Christians and Druze compete among themselves for ministries.
The delay in forming the government has prompted recriminations between rival parties.
Last week, Hezbollah members of parliament warned that the delay risked Lebanon “sliding toward tensions.”
“We are a state that has problems, and we must form a national unity government in which there is cooperation between all the parties. Otherwise we will create a problem in the cabinet,” Hariri said.
The International Monetary Fund has warned that Lebanon needs “an immediate and substantial fiscal adjustment” to make its public debt — which measures about 150 percent of gross domestic product — sustainable.


Saudi Arabia joins Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

Updated 14 min 34 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia joins Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

  • Israel seized part of the Golan during the 1967 Six-Day War, subsequently annexing it in 1981
  • US President Trump officially recognized Israel's sovereignty of the Golan Heights on March 25, 2019

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia joined Arab states on Tuesday in condemning a decision by the United States to recognize the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Breaking decades of international consensus, US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation at the White House on Monday recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the border area that Israel seized from Syria in 1967. 

Saudi Arabia firmly rejected the decision and affirmed its position that Golan Heights was occupied Syrian Arab land in accordance with the relevant international resolutions, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The declaration, made by the US, is a clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the report said.

The US decision was a violation of Security Council resolutions 242 of 1967 and 497 of 1981, and would have devastating implications on the peace process in the Middle East, as well as security and stability in the region, Saudi Arabia’s official statement said.

Saudi Arabia called on all parties to respect the decisions of international legitimacy and the charter of the United Nations.

Meanwhile, the Arab League Secretary-General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said that the decision “does not change the area’s status” as illegally occupied territory,

Syria said the decision was a blatant attack on its sovereignty. 

“Trump does not have the right or the legal authority to legitimize the occupation,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Opposition chief Nasr Al-Hariri said Trump’s decision would “lead to more violence and instability, and it will have negative effects on efforts to engineer peace in the region.”

Lebanon said the move “violates all the rules of international law” and “undermines any effort to reach a just peace.”

“The Golan Heights are Syrian Arab land, no decision can change this, and no country can revisit history by transferring ownership of land from one country to another,” the Foreign Ministry said.