Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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Hariri chairs Cabinet meeting: We are all in one Council of Ministers, partners with the President and Parliament

The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri chaired a Cabinet meeting today at the Grand Serail. At the end of the meeting, acting Information Minister Wael Abu Faour read the following:

"Premier Hariri opened the meeting by starting directly with the agenda in order to move to the political discussion after this. In this context, the Council of Ministers approved the request of the Ministry of Finance to issue treasury bonds in foreign currencies and to give offers to fully or partly replace the treasury bonds in foreign currencies, including the Eurobonds due during 2019, and delegating the Minister of Finance to carry out the replacement operations, implement the issuance decisions and represent the Lebanese Government in concluding all relevant contracts.

Several ministers, including the Minister of Finance, talked about the necessity of accelerating the completion of the budget and holding a basic discussion on the monetary situation and ways to address it by the government.

The Cabinet also discussed the issue of protecting some national products (pasta, flour, bulgur, biscuits, wafers and detergents). It was agreed to form a ministerial committee headed by the Prime Minister consisting of the Deputy Prime Minister and the ministers of economy, industry, finance, telecommunications and the state minister for foreign trade. It will hold its first meeting next week to decide on all protection decisions submitted previously and recently to the cabinet.

The Council of Ministers also approved a number of decisions, most notably:

- Financing agreement offered the European Union to finance the local development project along the Litani River.

- The request by the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities to approve a draft a memorandum of understanding between the United Nations Development Program and the General Directorate of Civil Defense.

- The request by the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities to authorize the minister to give approval to municipalities and the federation of municipalities to use temporary police and guards when needed for the year 2019.

The issue of previous ministerial committees was raised and it was decided to cancel some and expand and activate others and await projects and proposals from the ministers to discuss future committees.

In addition to several items on accepting donations or travel approvals, the Council of Ministers approved two requests submitted by the Ministry of Education, first to enable the students who continued their studies in Syria or any other country and the Syrian students and from other nationalities to apply for the official 2019 intermediate and secondary exams, even if they are unable to provide the necessary documents to accept their candidacy".

Abu Faour added that the Cabinet accepted a request related to the contractual teachers in public schools, and another to the ranking of successful professors in the salary scale.

He said that the Cabinet approved the request by the ministry of economy and trade to form the Lebanese delegation participating in the meetings of the joint Lebanese-Saudi preparatory committees and authorize the Economy minister to sign all documents including memorandums of understanding, executive programs, protocols of cooperation and minutes of meetings agreed upon by the Committee at the end of these meetings.

He added: "After discussing the agenda, the Prime Minister opened the door for political discussion among the ministers. He informed them about his discussions and participation in the Arab-European summit held in Sharm el-Sheikh, and the meetings he held with a number of presidents and officials and the issues that were discussed, especially the economic subjects, the implementation of CEDRE conference decisions and the importance of the meetings that were held in this framework. He briefed them about his meetings with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi where they discussed the issue of gas and electricity, the Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz and the ongoing preparations for the meeting of the Lebanese-Saudi Higher Committee, the Emir of Kuwait, who is preparing an upcoming visit

to Lebanon, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel with whom he discussed Lebanon's support to host the displaced and the Berlin Conference, the British Prime Minister Theresa May and the Brexit decision that will not affect the relations between the Kingdom and Lebanon, and the continued support for Lebanon despite the recent decision not to distinguish between Hezbollah's military or political wings, in addition to the important meeting with the French Foreign Minister, who will visit Lebanon soon to follow up the decisions of CEDRE Conference.

Premier Hariri also stressed the need for ministers to give CEDRE Conference the sufficient attention and follow-up its decisions, asking them to commit to the centrality of communication with the international community and international and financial donor institutions. According the Prime Minister, only the presidency of the council of ministers is authorized to make such contacts and coordinate between all ministries. Regular meetings will be held to coordinate with the relevant ministries, each according to the subject that concerns it.

Premier Hariri also stressed the need to respect the confidentiality of discussing the agenda of the Council of Ministers, and not to leak any item before taking a decision about the item. He also stressed the need to abide by ministerial solidarity, "We started a new phase," he said, "and the Lebanese citizens need results and accomplishments and not debates."

The Prime minister concluded by saying: "We are all in one cabinet, partners with the President and Parliament to start work and this is the spirit of our work in the coming days."

Question: Did you discuss the issue of appointments?

Answer: The issue of appointments has not been discussed, because some are ready while some need more discussion and it was not on the agenda.

Question: Did you discuss the visits of some ministers to Syria?

Answer: No, this has not been approached.

Question: Did the Minister of Agriculture raise the subject of his visit to Syria?

Answer: No, this was not raised.

Question: Is there a specific deadline for putting the budget on the table of the Council of Ministers?

Answer: There was more than one opinion from more than one minister, including the ministers of finance, economy and others, that spending without a clear roadmap from the budget is not wise, and would create facts that later could become a norm or a fait accompli. No time limit has been set, but the decision that was agreed on is to accelerate the issue.

Question: Did you discuss the issue of Carlos Ghosn, which was raised by the Minister of Defense?

Answer: It was discussed briefly at the end of the meeting.

Source: National News Agency