On August 18, the Lebanese National News Agency carried the following report:
Deputy General Michel Aoun received in his house in Rabieh Minister Talal Arslan, who said following the meeting:
“We are part of the Change and Reform Bloc and our meetings with General Michel Aoun are always excellent. We have been meeting to discuss all issues on the regional and international levels, especially in terms of the enhancement of our national unity and the enhancement of the opposition’s stance.”
He was asked: “A Kuwaiti newspaper said yesterday there was a dispute between you and General Aoun and that you will exit the Change and Reform Bloc. How true is that?” to which he answered: “This talk is provoked. It has not been fruitful in the past and will not be fruitful in the present or the future.
This is mere media talk that has nothing to do with reality.
Certainly, there has been a major misunderstanding at the level of our participation in the government and many people wrote about it.
However, we are an inherent part of the Change and Reform bloc and are entitled to be represented in the opposition’s quota in the government. This will not be the object of blackmail or outbidding between us and President General Michel Aoun, for what links us is much deeper and much more stable than that.”
“He was then asked: “Will the opposition and the majority remain the same and what stage has the governmental formation reached?” To which he said: “We are still insisting and hoping that the government will be formed as soon as possible. This government should be a national unity and partnership one to uphold the true representation of all the Lebanese. We should secure the governmental formation based on partnership to exit the stalemate which we have been witnessing for over two months.” In response to a question, Minister Arslan added:
“The equations are intertwined in a much clearer way, while the talk is ongoing about the 15-10-5 formula. We do not know how long this formula will last. This is part of the things hindering the governmental formation.”
“Did you agree with General Aoun on this issue?
“General Aoun understands our commitment to seeing the Lebanese Democratic Party represented as part of the Change and Reform Bloc.
“Some are saying that the recent shift of Deputy Walid Jumblatt served personal interests between you and him.
“This is shameful. True, what we have started with Deputy Jumblatt proved that our position was the right one on the overall Lebanese arena and we believe we are key at the level of unifying the positions of the Lebanese people. Deputy Jumblatt’s statements were logical and wise and in line with the internal balances to secure the unity of the Lebanese and alleviate the acute Lebanese division. I must recognize the role he played in this regard and is but greater than a personal issue. His position must therefore be met with a positive attitude.
“Will the security situation continue to be stable?
“The situation requires attention, caution and unity. It also requires us to rise above personal issues and I hope that the prime minister-designate will take that into consideration and does not consider himself to be at the service of one team, rather at the service of all the Lebanese people.
“In response to a question, he said: “The problem is not over a Druze or non-Druze minister. We want the Party to be represented as part of the Change and Reform bloc headed by General Michel Aoun.” He was finally asked: “Do you accuse the opposition of obstructing the governmental formation, especially since it wishes to impose certain names?” to which he replied: “There are many obstacles facing this governmental formation, which is why I believe that the issue should be tackled solely through national partnership.”