Hariri at the end of consultations with blocs: I am very optimistic

At the end of the consultations he held today in Parliament with the parliamentary blocs and MPs, Prime Minister-Designate Saad Hariri told reporters: "I want to thank Speaker Nabih Berri for our cooperation and work today. It was a day full of meeting...

At the end of the consultations he held today in Parliament with the parliamentary blocs and MPs, Prime Minister-Designate Saad Hariri told reporters: "I want to thank Speaker Nabih Berri for our cooperation and work today. It was a day full of meetings. All parliamentary blocs attended and I thank them. There was great cooperation among all to facilitate the formation of the government and everyone agreed that we should accelerate the formation of the government because of the regional and economic challenges we face in the country. There is no doubt that everyone wants to work to improve the economy and the institutions.

Having heard all opinions, I will see what is the best way to advance the country, in terms of the form of the government and its components. We want it to be a national entente government and unite to fortify our internal arena in the face of the regional and economic challenges.

For me, the economic situation is the most serious, and we must do our best because there is a real chance to get out of this suffocating situation, thanks to the CEDRE Conference and the reforms that we have to take in order to reduce corruption and waste in the country. I am very optimistic and I thank everyone for the cooperation they have shown today."

Question: Some say today that the share of the President of the Republic is different from the share of the Free Patriotic Movement, and some say that the Prime Minister asks for his share in this government. What is your stance on the demand to differentiate between the president's share and the share of the FPM?

Hariri: Everyone has the right to ask for what they want, and I listen at this stage to the demands of the parliamentary blocs. The president of the republic had a share in the past and the prime minister too. We are able to reach agreements. In my opinion, no one wants to put the sticks in the wheels, so we must agree as soon as possible.

Question: Does everyone have a strong appetite?

Hariri: Every party has presented its program and how it sees the government, and this is normal. Each party raises its roof to reach to a place to negotiate. In my opinion, everyone is cooperative and wants to reach results quickly, and nothing hinders us.

Question: Are any political parties interfering with the work of the Prime Minister- Designate in terms of forming the government?

Hariri: No, now it is the stage of consultations, and each party presents the way it sees things and how it wants to be represented in the government.

Some are advising to have a government of entente, others of narrowing or enlarging the government, or a government of 30 or 32 ministers, some even proposed a government of 10 or 16 ministers, but that does not mean that it will happen.

There are various political blocs, and we must reach an understanding as we have in the previous government.

Question: How long do you expect the formation process to take?

Hariri: We must accelerate as much as we can and we can reach understandings.

Hariri concluded: "We completed the parliamentary elections, and what we have done is a great achievement for the Lebanese citizen, and today we have the representation that resulted from this electoral law. The atmosphere of consensus that we had over the past year and a half and the speed with which we formed the former government still prevail. We have to build on the positives. In my opinion, we can form the government as rapidly as possible."

On the other hand, Hariri received at the "Center House" the Caretaker Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf, in the presence of the French Ambassador to Lebanon Bruno Foucher and a delegation from the French administration that comprised representatives of the Foreign Affairs, Finance and Defense Ministries. The meeting focused on the needs of the Lebanese army in light of the 400 million euros loan pledged by France at the Rome-2 conference dedicated to helping the Lebanese army and security forces.

Hariri also met with the US Senator for New Jersey Cory Booker, in the presence of the US Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard.

Source: National News Agency