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Beirut summit to be held on time: Lebanon president

Lebanese President Michel Naim Aoun

Lebanese President Michel Naim Aoun

By Wassim Saif al-Din,

Beirut: Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Monday a planned economic summit will be held in the country this month as scheduled.

Beirut is scheduled to host the Economic and Social Development Summit on Jan. 19-20.

Several reports, however, suggested that the summit might be postponed due to failure of the Lebanese parties to form a new government.

“Having the [current] cabinet in a caretaker [status] is not a reason to postpone the summit,” Aoun said during a meeting with Lazhar Karoui Chebbi, a delegate for Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi.

Chebbi visited Beirut to invite Aoun to the Arab summit, due to be held in Tunis in March.

The Tunisian envoy, for his part, said President Beji Caid Essebsi will attend the summit in Beirut.

Lebanese newspapers said that the new government might be formed within the coming days to avoid postponing the summit.

Under the 1989 Taif Accord, which ended Lebanon’s destructive civil war (1975-1989), cabinet portfolios are shared between the country’s main ethno-religious groupings, with six portfolios reserved for Sunnis, six for Shias and three for Druze.

Ever since Lebanon held parliamentary polls on May 6, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri has struggled to draw up a new government.

The process, however, has faced repeated delays and mutual recriminations between Lebanon’s main political forces and demands by certain parties for more representation in the upcoming government.

According to the Lebanese constitution, the prime minister-designate does not have a deadline for unveiling the new cabinet lineup.


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