Suleiman Reportedly Gives up Interior Ministry but FPM Rejects Giving it to Neutral Personality


President Michel Suleiman and Premier-designate Najib Miqati have reportedly reached a tacit agreement for the head of state to drop his demand for the interior ministry portfolio as part of his share in the new cabinet.

An Nahar daily said Friday that Miqati visited Baabda palace the day before to discuss with Suleiman the government deadlock that mainly rose because of the bickering between the president and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun over the portfolio.

Agreement has been reached for Suleiman to give up his demand for the portfolio, which was part of his share in caretaker Premier Saad Hariri’s cabinet, the newspaper reported.

However, it said it was not clear whether the ministry would be headed by a politician or a neutral personality.

But former minister Mario Aoun, who is an FPM official, told Voice of Lebanon radio station (93.3) on Friday that giving the interior ministry portfolio to any neutral personality won’t solve the cabinet deadlock, hinting that an FPM politician should lead the ministry.

He said that if An Nahar’s report about Suleiman’s decision was true, only minor obstacles would remain.

Meanwhile, consultations among involved officials continued to end the government impasse. The aides of the speaker and the Hizbullah leader respectively MP Ali Hassan Khalil and Hussein Khalil visited Suleiman on Friday to discuss the cabinet crisis.