Lebanon's Hariri hopes government will be finalised on Friday
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri said he hoped to finalise a new national unity government on Friday after more than seven months of political wrangling. By the early evening, there was still no sign of an announcement. Lebanese politicians have indicated a government deal is close but have yet to declare a final agreement.
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri said he hoped to finalise a new national unity government on Friday after more than seven months of political wrangling.
By the early evening, there was still no sign of an announcement. Lebanese politicians have indicated a government deal is close but have yet to declare a final agreement.
"Cross your fingers, don't jinx me. I'm trying to work very hard to finalize today the government, Inshallah (God Willing). There are still some things to be done but I think we should be able to finalize," Hariri told a Beirut business conference.
"God willing we will finish today."
Efforts to form the government have been obstructed by conflicting demands for cabinet seats that must be parcelled out in line with a sectarian power-sharing system.
"We don't know the circumstances that have not yielded the government today," said Qassem Hashem, one of six pro-Hezbollah Sunni MPs who have together demanded a cabinet post, in the latest standoff blocking a deal.
"We leave matters up to the coming hours," he said in TV comments on Friday evening, adding that talks would continue.
Heavily indebted and suffering from a stagnant economy, Lebanon is in dire need of an administration that can set about long-stalled reforms to put public debt on a sustainable footing.
Hariri said everyone was committed to reforms and said the government would try to bring down the subsidy it pays on energy by about $600 million in 2019.
Lebanon has the third largest debt-to-GDP ratio in the world.
Hariri also said a second round of bidding for Lebanese off-shore energy exploration should be open in February or March, adding that BP "is interested and the Americans are interested".
Lebanon's first round of exploration began in May after authorities approved an exploration plan submitted by a consortium of France's Total, Italy's Eni and Russia's Novatek.
(Reporting by Ellen Francis; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Alison Williams and Andrew Roche)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he had noted what he called "sharp anti-Russian rhetoric" from U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, but that he had been encouraged by Biden's comments on arms control. Putin, in comments on state television ahead of the U.S.
By John Irish and Robin Emmott PARIS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - France and Germany said on Wednesday they would propose European Union sanctions against Russian individuals after receiving no credible answers from Moscow over the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent. Several Western governments have said Russia, which has denied accusations by Navalny that it was involved in the poisoning, must help in investigations or face consequences. The decision and speed with which Europe's two main powers agreed to push ahead with sanctions suggests a hardening of the bloc's diplomacy towards Moscow.
By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, under coronavirus quarantine in the White House and restricted from traveling, is seeking ways to put a spark back in his struggling re-election bid and get behind his desk in the Oval Office with four weeks left until Election Day.