No Cabinet developments, Hariri says

Aug. 13, 2009 at 4:17 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- High-level talks with officials in Beirut were positive, though no new developments were made on forming a new government, the prime minister-designate said.

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri described his weekly meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri as "excellent" but sidestepped questions about the new government in Beirut.

Hariri set about forming a new unity government in Beirut following the victory for his March 14 coalition in the June parliamentary elections.

Hariri had reached a power-sharing agreement with members of the opposition March 8 coalition for a new Cabinet.

Lawmakers had agreed to a 15-10-5 power-sharing formula for the new government that calls for 15 ministers from March 14, 10 ministers from the opposition March 8 coalition and five ministers aligned with President Michel Suleiman.

The departure of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt from the March 14 coalition, however, left the efforts to form a new government in limbo.

Hariri did not address the Jumblatt departure during his briefing with reporters following the meeting with Berri, Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper reports.

Jumblatt, for his part, noted that he had supported the power-sharing agreement offered by Hariri, noting the delays were due to a "misrepresentation" of his status.

Jumblatt, the head of the Progressive Socialist Party, announced an end to his alliance with March 14 last week, saying his "necessary" partnership with the movement had concluded.

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