Beirut- The Lebanese government smoothly approved on Thursday the diplomatic appointments after political parties agreed on a quota that divides 74 embassies among their affiliated diplomats and supporters.
The decision only faced a shy objection concerning the Future Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement’s decision to name eight non-staff members as diplomats.
Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil received the highest share while his ally “Hezbollah” was left outside the diplomatic equation.
Parliamentary sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Thursday: “As usual, Hezbollah is aware of his reality and did not ask for any share in the diplomatic appointments. Where will an ambassador affiliated with the party go, when Hezbollah is listed as a terrorist?”
Following the cabinet session on Thursday, Information Minister Melhem Riachi said “the official announcement of the new ambassadors will be made in successive statements issued by the Foreign Ministry following the approval of concerned countries of the names of ambassadors.”
The Cabinet appointed Ambassador Hani Shmeitli as Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ghadi Khoury as Director of Political Affairs, and Ambassador Kanj Al-Hajal as Director of Administrative and Financial Affairs.
Ministerial sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that all parties were pleased with the shares they received during the diplomatic appointments, although Bassil particularly received the lion’s share by naming ambassadors in each of France, the US and Italy.
The other main capitals were divided among Lebanon’s leading political parties. The Future Movement received the highest number of embassies in the Arab countries, especially in the Gulf States, in addition to Lebanon’s missions in the UN and UNESCO.
The Lebanese Forces was capable to name ambassadors in Geneva, Madrid, Muscat and Manama, while the Amal Movement of Speaker Nabih Berri received each of London, Tehran, Baghdad, Brussels and Kuwait. President Michel Aoun named an ambassador in Oman.