Syrian leaders called for speeding up the process of forming a Lebanese cabinet headed by Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati, Al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Monday.
The daily said that Syrian officials want the Lebanese government formed quickly “in order to block any attempt of using Lebanon to pressure Damascus in light of [the anti-regime protests it is witnessing].”
“Mikati was asked by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a recent phone call [to hurry in forming the cabinet],” the daily added.
Mikati, who was appointed to the premiership on January 25 with the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition’s backing, is working to form a Lebanese cabinet amid a March 14 parties’ decision to boycott the government.
Dozens have been confirmed killed in a spiral of violence that has gripped Syria since protests broke out on March 15, with demonstrators demanding major reforms.