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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 October 2018

Lebanon's Hariri signals new government near

Foreign donors have said Lebanon needs to build a government quickly to maintain confidence

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri speaks during a press conference with the German Chancellor at his office in the capital Beirut on June 22, 2018 during her official visit to Lebanon. Anwar Amro / AFP
Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri speaks during a press conference with the German Chancellor at his office in the capital Beirut on June 22, 2018 during her official visit to Lebanon. Anwar Amro / AFP

Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri said on Friday he was very close to forming a new government and would hold more talks with the country's main parties.

Foreign donors have said Lebanon, which held a parliamentary election in May, needs to build a government quickly to maintain confidence and start working on reforms to help its ailing economy.

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil had warned earlier this week that Lebanon was not forming its new cabinet fast enough and said he had not seen serious headway.

"We have come very close to the final equation...There are still some consultations," Mr Hariri said after meeting President Michel Aoun. "The issue is the size of the parcel that each political [party] wants to get."

"God willing, we're getting there," the Western-backed Hariri said without giving a timeframe.

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The Sunni Muslim leader has met with lawmakers over the make-up of the coalition, with some rivalries surfacing over cabinet portfolios. The new government, like the outgoing one, is expected to include all main parties within Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system.

A caretaker government has been running the country since the May vote. In the election, Lebanon's Iran-backed, Shiite Hezbollah movement and its political allies emerged with greater sway.

Speaking earlier on Friday at a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr Hariri said that Lebanon was committed to implementing reforms.