Prime Minister Saad Hariri and President Michel Aoun attend a Cabinet session in Baabda, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The formation of a new government edged closer Monday following reported progress in Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri's attempts to resolve the problem of the Lebanese Forces' Cabinet share.This comes as Hariri, unfazed by last week's setback to the government formation process over the LF's representation, vowed to move forward with his efforts to set up a national unity government that includes all the main political parties.Hariri also sounded optimistic about the Cabinet formation, which enters its sixth month of deadlock this week, saying obstacles are on their way to being resolved. Hariri's remarks came as he held what was described a "crucial" meeting Monday night at his Downtown residence with caretaker Information Minister Melhem Riachi as special envoy of LF leader Samir Geagea after the prime minister-designate was reported to have presented the LF with a new Cabinet offer. It was Riachi's fourth meeting in as many days with Hariri to reach agreement on the LF's Cabinet share amid fierce competition between the LF and the Free Patriotic Movement over the representation of the Christian sect in the new government.Following up on the Cabinet formation efforts, Aoun underscored the importance of accelerating the government formation.
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