LF ‘Not Concerned’ with Franjieh’s Ain el-Tineh Remarks as Hariri Meets Khalil, Riachi

Christian Lebanese Forces (LF) supporters wave the group's flags and pictures of LF chief Samir Geagea during a rally staged as a memorial for LF "martyrs" killed during Lebanon's civil war, in the Maronite cathedral in Harissa, north of Beirut, 24 September 2006. Geagea scoffed during the rally attended by tens of thousands at Hezbollah's claims of victory in its devastating conflict with Israel. The rally came two days after Syrian-backed Shiite group Hezbollah held a giant demonstration in Beirut to celebrate "victory" in the July-August war with Israel. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI / AFP PHOTO / MARWAN NAAMANI

The Lebanese Forces is “not concerned” with what Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh announced in Ain el-Tineh about Speaker Nabih Berri offering him the public works ministerial portfolio, LF sources announced on Monday.

LF leader Samir Geagea “has not received any phone call from the president or the premier-designate about the developments,” the sources told LBCI television in the evening.

“We’re waiting to be officially briefed by the relevant officials on any developments in the cabinet formation process and, accordingly, we consider that the old distribution of portfolios has not changed until the moment,” the sources added.

Earlier in the day, Franjieh said Berri had officially offered him the public works ministerial portfolio and that “an agreement is still needed over other portfolios.”

“Our candidate for this ministry is Youssef Finianos and we’re awaiting the stances of the other parties, and we hope others, topped by President Michel Aoun, will show openness,” he added.

Later on Monday, Berri’s aide Ali Hassan Khalil visited the Center House for talks with PM-designate Saad Hariri.

“Things have moved forward in a positive manner,” Khalil told reporters after the meeting.

A statement issued by Hariri’s office said the meeting tackled “the current political developments, especially the outcome of the contacts regarding the cabinet formation process.”

Shortly after Khalil left the Center House, LF official Melhem Riachi arrived for talks with Hariri.

“The atmosphere is always excellent with PM-designate Hariri,” Riachi said after the meeting.

Hariri later delegated his adviser ex-MP Ghattas Khoury to Maarab for talks with Geagea.

Marada’s demand to get one of three key portfolios – public works, telecommunications or energy – is one of the main obstacles that are hindering the formation of the new government