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Hariri discusses government formation with Riachi and Arslan

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri received this evening (Monday) at the Center House former Prime Ministers Fouad Siniora, Najib Mikati and Tamam Salam. Discussions focused on the situation and the latest developments particularly what relates to the formation of the government.

Hariri also met with the Minister of Displaced Talal Arlan who said after the meeting: "I thank Prime Minister Hariri for this meeting, which I consider fruitful. I thank him for his constant keenness on the unity of the Lebanese and bringing all the Lebanese parties together regardless of the political diversity that exists in the country. Thus, he is the Prime Minister of all Lebanon and not the Prime Minister of one team."

He added: "Our duty is to support Premier Hariri and facilitate his mission in forming the government, but not by eliminating ourselves from the political map. I informed him that the first concession we made is to accept the principle of me not being personally present in the government, and we then accepted to name two representatives in the government. The third concession is that we are ready to name qualified Druze from outside the Lebanese Democratic Party but who are supporters of the party. I cannot give more than this."

Arslan added that he informed Hariri that he is ready to meet with MP Walid Jumblatt, in a meeting sponsored by Premier Hariri or President Michel Aoun. He noted that if the government is a national unity government, he has to be represented in it, and the diversity in the druze community has to be represented.

Hariri also received the Information Minister Melhem Riachi who said after the meeting: "I was honored to meet the Prime Minister-designate. We discussed the formation of the government. Things will are becoming more positive. We hope in the next few days or a bit more to have a government in the country. The Prime Minister is optimistic and he is working day and night to achieve this end. There are obstacles but the way Premier Hariri is working and in which we have great confidence, we can reach a result."

Asked if he heard from Premier Hariri that there will be a government in the next few days, Riachi said: "Probably not in the next few days, maybe a little more, but the way he is working can lead to a government soon. Premier Hariri is very serious and he is overcoming numerous obstacles to form the government."

He said that he will not talk about portfolios, adding that Speaker Berri did not offer the Lebanese Forces any portfolios but is facilitating the formation a lot and was an essential element in reaching the previous formation that was submitted to the President.

Asked to comment on the campaigns targeting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, Riachi said: "We as Lebanese are concerned with the logic of verifying information and following up things in a precise and respectful manner. We support the stance of the Prime Minister and consider it the right position. The attacks against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is today the most prominent Arab force in the region, are an insult to the Kingdom and to Lebanon's friendship with it. This Arabs should support each other because protecting the Kingdom is part of the protection of Lebanon and its future. This is a delicate subject and I consider Prime Minister Hariri's stance in this regard as adequate."

Source: National News Agency

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