Lebanon's Future movement agrees on Army Commander extension

Published July 23rd, 2013 - 07:25 GMT
Lebanese Parliament building (AFP file photo)
Lebanese Parliament building (AFP file photo)

Al-Mustaqbal (The Future) movement voiced support to a decision to extend the mandate of Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji by at least one year, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on Tuesday.

According to the newspaper, the decision came in light of a series of meetings held between former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and senior officials in al-Mustaqbal movement.

The newspaper said that Hariri personally contacted Qahwaji to inform him of the final decision.

Hariri, according to the daily, contacted the army chief twice over the weekend to discuss the latest developments.

The extension of Qahwaji's term, which ends this September when he turns 60 (the maximum age for the post of the army commander), had created a dispute among the political foes.

Al-Mustaqbal allegedly linked the extension of Qahwaji's term to the return of Internal Security Forces chief Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi to his ISF command post.

Al-Joumhouria also reported that Hizbullah vowed to convince the Free Patriotic Movement of the extension.

Last week, a parliamentary session was postponed for the second consecutive time over lack of quorum caused by the boycott of several parliamentary blocs due to a dispute with Speaker Nabih Berri.

The three-day session was set by Berri for July 29.

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati, the March 14 alliance's MPs and the Change and Reform bloc have boycotted the session.

The speaker has insisted to keep the 45 draft-laws on the session's agenda and said he would continue to call on MPs for a General Assembly meeting until the agenda is discussed.

However, MP Michel Aoun's Change and Reform has a different reason to boycott the session. Aoun staunchly opposes the extension of Qahwaji's tenure.

Aoun's stance is not on par with its ally Hizbullah, whose MPs attended Tuesday's session along with members of Berri's bloc and the centrist National Struggle Front of MP Walid Jumblat.

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