Leading figures agree to new Hariri government

1 / 2
Former Lebanese Prime Mminister Saad Hariri meets with Samir Khatib, a Lebanese businessman who was the front-runner to form a new government. (AFP)
2 / 2
Lebanon's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Deryan meets with Samir Khatib, a Lebanese businessman who is the front-runner to form a new Lebanese government. (AFP)
Updated 09 December 2019

Leading figures agree to new Hariri government

  • Samir Khatib will stand aside to allow Saad Hariri to form a government in Lebanon

BEIRUT: Samir Khatib, after meeting with Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdellatif Deryan on Sunday, 24 hours before the planned start of binding parliamentary consultations to name a new prime minister, will stand aside to allow Saad Hariri to form a government in Lebanon.

Khatib had previously been recommended by Hariri, the former prime minister currently serving as caretaker, to succeed him. 

Lebanese security forces implemented strict security measures on Sunday, to ensure that the roads to the Baabda Palace were secure for the 128 members of Parliament, who will name the next prime minister. Last night the process was postponed for a week.

Public affairs expert and activist Zeina El-Helou told Arab News: “The parties participating in the protests movement have decided through their coordination bodies that they will not block roads on Monday. Instead, they will allow for the parliamentary consultations to take place because, for 41 days, this has been our demand after Hariri’s government resigns.

“But if others proceed to block roads, know that they are affiliated with political parties that do not support the political settlement that will take place.”

The civil movement continued in Beirut over the weekend, as activists rejected Khatib as a possible prime minister as “an extension of the ruling political power.”

El-Helou said: “The parties in power did not take into consideration the people’s confidence crisis toward this government, nor have they considered the economic crisis or people’s demands.

“We reject Hariri’s return to head the government because of his history in this role, and we refuse to have the crisis portrayed as a Sunni sect crisis.”

MPs from the blocs that had agreed to name Khatib prime minister retracted the statement that this was final, especially the bloc affiliated with President Michel Aoun, the largest grouping in Parliament.

Mario Aoun, member of the Strong Lebanon bloc, said: “The bloc has not yet made a final decision, but it is likely that Khatib will be named if Hariri does not retract his stance that he is the most powerful in his sect and because we are committed to national unity.”

He did not rule out “a political surprise on the day of the consultations.”

Hezbollah and its allies accused Hariri — without naming him — of “acting with obstinacy and selfishness in an attempt to evade duties.”

MP Hassan Fadlallah of the Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc said: “There are those who think the boat will sink, so they try to jump off it to save themselves, or they see that the country is collapsing, so they want others to bear the consequences while they watch from outside the national responsibility.”

The head of the Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Jumblatt, said that the only solution to the political impasse was to form a government based on the principles of the Taif Agreement and the constitution.

“We do not want to be part of a government that has toppled all the constitutional foundations,” he said.


Dubai Metro line extension will open to public in September

Updated 09 July 2020

Dubai Metro line extension will open to public in September

  • The $2.9 billion project, called Metro Route 2020, adds seven stations to the city’s Red Line
  • The new stations will serve communities in the southern part of Dubai

DUBAI: The Dubai Metro line’s 15-kilometer route extension was inaugurated on Wednesday and will be open to the public in September.

The $2.9 billion project, called Metro Route 2020, adds seven stations to the city’s Red Line, including one for the Expo 2020 site.

“The project offers safe and smooth transport for Expo visitors and residents of Dubai communities,” a statement carried by state-run WAM said.

The expansion comes as part of Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority’s masterplan to provide an integrated mass transit system comprising the metro, tram, buses and marine transport.

The new stations will serve communities in the southern part of Dubai, including The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai Investment Park.