Lebanon's Aoun says some want to block government and foment chaos

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FILE PHOTO: Lebanon's President Michel Aoun sits inside the presidential palace in Baabda

BEIRUT (Reuters) -Lebanese President Michel Aoun accused unnamed parties on Thursday of seeking to prevent the formation of a new government and to push the country into chaos.

Earlier this week Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati had expressed optimism that a government could soon be formed to steer Lebanon out of its two-year financial crisis, but the prospect of an imminent deal appears to have faded.

"Several forces are working to prevent the creation of a government and are determined to push the country towards chaos in order to fulfil their political aims," the presidency said in a statement, citing Aoun.

The statement said Aoun was cooperating with Mikati but that other groups were increasing demands over positions in the future cabinet with the goal of forcing Mikati to quit, an outcome the president said he did not want.

Mikati later said in a statement cited by broadcaster Al-Jadeed that he would continue his efforts to form a government.

The formation of a government is a necessary first step to start pulling Lebanon out of a crisis that has deepened with crippling fuel shortages.

Lebanon has been managed by a caretaker government since the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab's cabinet following a devastating explosion in Beirut port one year ago.

The formation of a cabinet has been greatly complicated by Lebanon's sectarian and factional rivalries.

(Reporting by Tom Perry and Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Jon Boyle and Gareth Jones)

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