In footage and audio leaked from the Monday meeting between caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab and President Michel Aoun, the President states that PM-designate Saad Hariri had lied about the government formation process.
“The [government] formation situation, how is it now, Mr. President?” Diab can be heard asking President Aoun in a brief video leaked by Al-Jadeed on Monday evening.
“There is no formation,” Aoun responds before pausing. “He’s saying he gave me a paper – he lies… He made lying statements,” he adds, meaning PM-designate Hariri.
“Now, look how long he’s been absent for. That’s how the luck of the Lebanese is,” the President continues. “And now he has gone to Turkey – I don’t know what this changes.”
In December, Hariri stated that he had handed President Aoun a complete cabinet formation proposal.
Hariri later left Lebanon before an agreement on the new government could be reached, returning in January, then leaving for Turkey on an unannounced trip, where he met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on January 8th.
As of the time of writing, the PM-designate has not responded to the leaked comments.