16 April 2005
Lebanon's newly chosen prime minister, Najib Mikati, has begun talks to form a cabinet, amid rising hopes that the country's parliamentary elections will be held by the end of May.
The cabinet discussions began Saturday, one day after Lebanese President Emile Lahoud named the moderate pro-Syrian politician as the new prime minister.
Mr. Mikati said his priorities will be holding elections, reviving economic growth, and cooperating with the U.N. probe into February's assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Lebanon has been without a government since former Prime Minister Omar Karami resigned after the Hariri killing, which the opposition blames on pro-Syrian agents.
President Lahoud re-appointed Mr. Karami, but he quit again this week after failing to form a new government.