Iran hails Lebanese unity government

TEHRAN, July 11 (MNA) – Iran’s Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki on Friday welcomed the formation of a unity government in Lebanon.

Lebanon on Friday formed a unity government under a deal that ended a paralyzing political conflict in the country.


Mottaki expressed hope that the unity government will help “preserve unity” among Lebanese factions and “reinforce stability” in the country.


The birth of the government, the first under newly elected President Michel Suleiman, should close a long political crisis that had threatened to plunge Lebanon into a new civil war.


A presidential decree announced the cabinet after Suleiman, a Maronite Christian, met Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, a Sunni Muslim, and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a Shi’ite Muslim.


"This government has two main tasks: regaining confidence in the Lebanese political system... and securing the holding of a transparent parliamentary election," Reuters quoted Siniora as telling reporters.


The new team has one Hezbollah minister in addition to 10 ministers from its Shia, Druze and Christian allies.


The opposition was guaranteed 11 of the cabinet's 30 seats under a May deal to defuse a conflict that had sparked some of the worst conflict since the 1975-90 civil war. All major decisions require a two-thirds majority or 20 cabinet votes.


The Qatari-brokered May 21 agreement opened the way for Suleiman’s election four days later, but factional squabbling over portfolios had held up the formation of a government.


The majority coalition chose 16 ministers. Suleiman picked the remaining three, including Interior Minister Ziad Baroud.


Siniora’s close adviser Mohammad Chatah takes the finance portfolio. Hezbollah’s Mohammad Fneish becomes labor minister and Fawzi Salloukh, of the Shi’ite Amal group, foreign minister.


The cabinet’s main task will be to ease sectarian and political tensions to avert further violence, adopt an election law agreed in the Qatar talks and supervise next year’s poll.






News Code 28906

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