Lebanon PM rejects opposition deadline
The Hizbullah-led opposition reportedly gave Premier-designate Fouad Saniora 48 hours to form a new cabinet, but the latter on Saturday described the move as intimidation. Saniora's response came following a meeting with President Michel Suleiman during which the two leaders discussed ways to speed up the formation of the government.
"Talks about a deadline to form the cabinet can be considered intimidation," Saniora told reporters from Baabda. "We are trying to remove all the obstacles" facing the new cabinet line-up, Saniora stated.
The Beirut-based daily As Safir reported on Saturday that the opposition deadline came following a "comprehensive assessment" of development results since the conclusion of the Doha agreement last month. But sources close to Saniora quoted him as saying that "apologizing" is out of the question since he is carrying out his mission upon the ruling majority's request.
It has been four weeks since Saniora was named to form a new national unity government.
Meanwhile, the ruling majority held the opposition, particularly Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, responsible for hindering the cabinet formation. Aoun, for his part, was reportedly not willing to give up his right to a top cabinet post, saying he enjoys support of "all" opposition's leaders.
"Be sure that no government will be formed unless the FPM is an inseparable part of it," As Safir quoted Aoun as saying.