Berri receives Bassil and Ferzli in Ain al-Tineh, Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (The Daily Star/Hasan Ibrahim, HO)
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Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri's meeting with caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has made progress toward resolving the problem of Christian representation in the new government, a development that will encourage Speaker Nabih Berri to intervene to overcome other hurdles, political sources said Friday.Local media outlets said Bassil, the FPM leader, agreed during his meeting with Hariri Thursday night to granting the Lebanese Forces four ministerial posts – two of them key portfolios – but not necessarily a sovereign ministry as LF officials have been demanding.In a fresh bid to break the government formation deadlock, now in its third month, Hariri Thursday launched a new round of consultations that culminated with an icebreaking meeting with Bassil, who has been at the center of a bitter struggle between the FPM and the LF over Cabinet shares for the Christian community.The FPM source described Bassil's meeting with Hariri as "positive and even excellent" at the political and personal levels, and implicitly blamed the LF's demand for a significant Cabinet share for the deadlock.Bassil, according to the source, rejected accusations by LF officials that he was blocking the government formation by refusing to give the LF the Cabinet share it was demanding.
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