News / Middle East

New Government Formed in Lebanon

Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam (C) walks at the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, Feb. 15, 2014.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam (C) walks at the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, Feb. 15, 2014.
Edward Yeranian
— Lebanon has announced a new Cabinet that includes a wide range of political groups, breaking months of bitter infighting, mostly over Syria's civil war.

Prime Minister Tamam Salam announced his 24-member national unity government on Saturday.

Parliament had designated the Sunni lawmaker as prime minister in April last year, but rivalries between the Shi'ite Hezbollah-dominated March 8 coalition and the Sunni-led March 14 alliance had prevented Salam from forming a government.

Agreement was reached when the March 14 alliance agreed to withdraw its choice for interior minister after strong opposition from Hezbollah.

The names of the 24 members of the new government were solemnly read aloud in a gesture that left many Lebanese breathing a sigh of relief. The country had been in the hands of a caretaker government for many months, as both major political factions argued over who controlled what.

The incoming prime minister, himself the son of a beloved long-time prime minister, noted in his inaugural message that he had attempted to put together a balanced government in which all parties participated, but without any religious or sectarian quotas.

Members of the new government — some of whom are not on speaking terms — posed for the traditional Cabinet photo at the presidential palace on the stormy winter day.

International agreement

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the Cabinet formation, saying the severity of Lebanon's security, humanitarian and economic issues should spur the government to act without delay to address these challenges.

Syria's civil war has spilled over into neighboring Lebanon and sharply divided its population.

Salam said the new Cabinet will have to face the explosive social issue created by nearly a million Syrian refugees fleeing to Lebanon, which has a population of 4 million.

According to Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, formation of the new government despite regional tensions is a sign of international agreement over the need to keep Lebanon out of the conflict raging in Syria, insisting that the new government represents a lowest common denominator with concessions by all sides, including Hezbollah and anti-Syrian parties.

Abou Diab argued that the accord would not have been possible without an international will to spare Lebanon further consequences of the Syrian conflict, and that the agreement is largely the product of intense mediation by both the U.S. and France, which are historic power brokers in the country.

The Cabinet is not expected to remain in office long because a new government is slated to be formed after President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ends in May and a new head of state is elected.

Some analysts have been warning that Lebanon risks facing yet another political abyss if members of parliament are unable to choose a new president. A brutal and bloody war broke out in 1989 in the leadership vacuum created by the inability to elect a new president.

Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid