Aoun receives Jumblatt in Baabda, Wednesday, July 4, 2018. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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President Michel Aoun and former MP Walid Joumblatt agreed Wednesday to safeguard Maronite-Druze reconciliation in the Chouf mountains and defuse tensions between the Progressive Socialist Party and the Free Patriotic Movement as part of moves to accelerate the formation of a new government, official sources said."President Aoun is holding meetings with leaders to ease tensions and create a positive and favorable climate that can help speed up the government formation," the source said. He referred to Aoun's meeting Monday at Baabda Palace with LF leader Samir Geagea to discuss the problem of Christian representation in the new government amid a bitter struggle between the FPM and the LF over Cabinet shares. He added that a planned meeting between Geagea and caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the FPM leader, could prove crucial in resolving the problem of Christian representation in the new government.Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Aoun, Joumblatt said his talks with the president did not directly address the government formation process, but that he refused to budge on his demand that the PSP's parliamentary Democratic Gathering bloc be allocated the three ministerial posts reserved for the Druze sect in a 30-member Cabinet.
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