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

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.”

Egypt’s iconic Tahrir Square to be renovated

Updated 48 min 19 sec ago

Egypt’s iconic Tahrir Square to be renovated

CAIRO: Egypt’s iconic Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo is about to receive a facelift as part of a project aimed at revitalizing several locations across the country’s vast capital and building on their appeal to the tourism market.

The square was the center of the 2011 uprising that toppled the country’s long-serving autocrat Hosni Mubarak. In 2013, protesters again took to the streets around the square when they called for the ousting of former President Mohammad Mursi.    

Now Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has called for the historic site to be turned into a tourist destination.

The historic square was created in the 19th century, when it was initially named Ismailia Square. 

In 1952, a military-led revolution abolished the Egyptian monarchy and the square was renamed Tahrir Square, meaning liberation.