Lebanon PM: New Government To Liberate Land Under Occupation Of 'Israeli Enemy'
Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced on Monday a long-delayed new government dominated by allies of Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which is likely to cause alarm among Western powers.
Mikati was appointed to form a government after Hezbollah and its allies toppled Western-backed former premier Saad al-Hariri's coalition in January over a dispute involving the United Nations backed tribunal investigating the assassination of statesman Rafik al-Hariri, Saad's father.
"Let us go to work immediately according to the principles and basis that we have affirmed our commitment to several times, namely ... defending Lebanon's sovereignty and its independence and liberating land that remains under the occupation of the Israeli enemy," Mikati said at the Baabda Presidential Palace.
Political wrangling had held up the formation of the cabinet, including disagreements over sensitive posts.
Mohammed Safadi, the former economy minister, was named finance minister and will try to improve Lebanon's growth outlook which stands at about 2.5 percent this year, driven down by the political stalemate.
Fayez Ghusn was named defense minister and Marwan Charbel as the interior minister. Nicolas Sehnawi was given the telecommunications portfolio, a post ridden with controversy due to disagreements over privatizing the sector.