Suleiman Reportedly Ready to Give up Interior Ministry Portfolio


President Michel Suleiman informed Premier-designate Najib Miqati that he was ready to give up his demand for the interior ministry portfolio in return for giving the seat to a neutral personality, al-Akhbar daily reported on Thursday.

The newspaper quoted sources following up the cabinet formation process as saying that Suleiman called Miqati on Wednesday to inform him about his stance.

It said Miqati’s circles preferred to adopt a wait-and-see approach rather than being optimistic.

Baabda palace sources also told al-Liwaa daily that agreement would be reached to grant the portfolio to a personality that appeases all sides.

The premier-designate’s circles said, however, that the main obstacle behind the formation of the government was still the bickering between Suleiman and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun over the interior ministry portfolio.

They told An Nahar and As Safir newspapers that Miqati won’t give up his task of forming a productive cabinet but he would eventually take the appropriate decision if the efforts to solve the deadlock fail.

The premier-designate has reportedly two cabinet lineups ready in case negotiations fail – a 30-member government made up mainly of politicians in addition to technocrats and a 24-member technocrat cabinet.

Pending such a decision, Miqati is relying on the aides of the speaker and the Hizbullah leader, respectively MP Ali Hassan Khalil and Hussein Khalil, and the envoys of Druze leader Walid Jumblat to bridge the gap between Suleiman and Aoun, As Safir said.