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Aoun warns Hariri over unilateral efforts

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri violated the spirit of national unity in his decisions on the next government, opposition leaders say.

Hariri launched his second effort at forming a unity government Wednesday by meeting with members of his March 14 slate and opposition lawmakers with the March 8 movement, reports Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper.

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Hariri led his March 14 coalition to power in June parliamentary elections, promising to work swiftly to form a unity government. Disputes over the appointment of caretaker Telecommunications Minister Jebran Bassil and political defections undermined his efforts, however, forcing Hariri to step down briefly.

Michel Aoun, Bassil's father-in-law and leader of the opposition Free Patriotic Movement, blamed Hariri for moving forward in a unilateral fashion, which he said harmed efforts at forming a unity government.

"Thus if we do not reach an accord over the government, that implies a unilateral decision by one party to form a cabinet which does not reflect national unity," he said.

He stressed, however, that he was not leading the disputes over the appointment of Bassil, who lost in the June elections.

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"Whoever provoked the problem should pay the price," he cautioned.

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