Lebanon’s Aoun intervening in stalled effort to form government

Lebanese President Aoun said on Tuesday he was intervening in stalled efforts to form a new national unity government, warning the country faced “catastrophe” if this failed. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 December 2018
0

Lebanon’s Aoun intervening in stalled effort to form government

  • More than six months since an election, efforts to form the new cabinet led by Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri are still logjammed with rival groups vying for cabinet posts
  • Lebanon is in dire need of a government able to implement the economic reforms the IMF says are needed to put its public debt on a sustainable path

BEIRUT: Iran was accused on Tuesday of sabotaging the formation of a government in Lebanon as President Michel Aoun intervened to try to end the impasse.

Political negotiations have been deadlocked since elections in May, in a row over representation in the Cabinet for six Sunni members of Parliament allied with Hezbollah. The 30 ministerial posts are allocated according to a sectarian political system.

“The issue is associated with what Iran wants and what it is given, to agree to the formation of a government or to continue hampering it,” the Minister of Refugees Affairs, Moeen Al-Marabi, a member of Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement parliamentary bloc, told Arab News.

President Aoun said: “We are launching an initiative ... and it has to succeed, because if it doesn’t ... there is a catastrophe, we want to say it with all frankness, and this is the reason for my intervention.” 

He has held meetings with Hariri, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Hezbollah representative Mohammed Raad MP. 

Hariri left Lebanon on Tuesday to attend an economic forum in London on investment and structural reforms in Lebanon. “God willing, we will find solutions,” he said.

“There are those who wish to form a government while others do not. We must give the president the chance to conduct his consultations.

“Everyone will be held accountable if a solution is not reached, not only the president and me.”


Iran denies allegations of spying on German army

Updated 20 January 2019
0

Iran denies allegations of spying on German army

  • Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office said last week that a 50-year-old German-Afghan dual citizen was detained
  • The suspect spied on the army for years and had access to highly classified material, including on German missions in Afghanistan

TEHRAN: Iran has dismissed allegations by German prosecutors that an army employee was spying for Tehran.
The semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying that “enemies” were aiming to “sour relations” between Iran and Europe.
He appeared to be referring to the United States and Israel, which have pressed European nations to withdraw from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office said last week that a 50-year-old German-Afghan dual citizen was detained in the western Rhineland region. The German Defense Ministry confirmed the allegations but declined to give any further details.
German news site Spiegel Online reported that the suspect spied on the army for years and had access to highly classified material, including on German missions in Afghanistan.