Hariri speaks with Berri during a Parliament session in Beirut, Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Parliament, HO)
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A 15-minute meeting between Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil on the sidelines of a Parliament session to elect heads and members of parliamentary committees Tuesday has failed to make any headway in the eight-week Cabinet stalemate, officials said.This indicated that the rift between the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces over Christian representation that is blocking the government formation has not yet been resolved.The ongoing rift between the FPM and the LF over Christian representation in the next government was also discussed during a meeting between Aoun and LF's caretaker Information Minister Melhem Riachi.LF ministers and lawmakers have accused Bassil of obstructing the government's formation by seeking to prevent the LF from obtaining a Cabinet share commensurate with its parliamentary size.The FPM's parliamentary Strong Lebanon bloc, headed by Bassil, rejected accusations Bassil was to blame for hindering the government formation.Kanaan defended a demand by MP Talal Arslan, an ally of the FPM, who heads a four-member bloc in the Chouf-Aley district, to be named a minister in the new government.
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