BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Cabinet makes key appointment, addresses hospital issue

Sleiman chaired Wednesday's Cabinet session at the Baabda Palace. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: The Cabinet Wednesday appointed a female head for the Civil Service Board and approved a plan to address the deteriorating Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut.

Chaired by President Michel Sleiman at Baabda Palace, the Cabinet appointed Fatima Sayegh as the new head of the Civil Service Board for a six-year term.

Due to lack of consensus among the groups forming the government, Cabinet did not make further appointments to the many vacant posts in the public sector.

The government also approved a plan proposed by Health Minister Wael Abu Faour to tackle the mounting problems facing Rafik Hariri University Hospital.

Media reports emerged recently alleging corruption in the hospital, which was inaugurated in 2004.

There are also complaints about the hospital’s inability to provide medications to patients suffering from chronic diseases.

The facility is also witnessing a severe cash flow problem and operating way below its capacity of 400 to 450 beds.

The Cabinet tasked Abu Faour and Minister of State for Administrative Development Nabil de Freij, to come up with a method to appoint a new board of directors for the hospital.

The Cabinet decided to provide the hospital with a loan amounting to around LL 20 billion ($ 13.3 million) after the new board was formed.

Speaking to reporters after the session, Information Minister Ramzi Joreige said President Michel Sleiman had expressed his satisfaction with the ongoing plan carried out by the Army and Internal Security Forces to restore security in the Bekaa Valley and Tripoli, in his remarks made at the start of the meeting.

Sleiman described the plan as excellent, that saying it should continue and be accompanied by development plans in the Bekaa Valley and north Lebanon, and by combating extremism.

The president highlighted the need to assure tourists, particularly other Arabs, that the situation had been stabilized in Lebanon, as tourism season has already started.

Sleiman said that Tourism Minister Michel Pharoan should launch a swift plan for this purpose, accompanied by a media campaign.

The president expressed relief that residents of the Syrian Christian village of Maaloula had returned home and that priests had returned to their monasteries after the Syrian army drove out rebels from the area earlier this week.

Sleiman also called for the protection of minorities in Syria who were not taking part in the conflict.

The president said that Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk was in the midst of contacting relevant officials and political groups to secure a road to evacuate the Lebanese residing in the Lebanese village of Tfeil, close to Syria.

The village, located in east Lebanon, can only be accessed through Syria’s Qalamoun region, which has been witnessing fierce fighting between the Syrian army and Syrian rebels in recent weeks.

Sleiman called on relevant officials to consider ways to open a road in Lebanon connecting the village to the country.

The president highlighted the need for ministers to be productive and called on the Administrative Development Ministry to coordinate with relevant ministries to address any problems delaying appointments in vacant posts.

Sleiman called on Defense Minister Samir Moqbel and Machnouk to give instructions to boost security measures around places of worship during Good Friday and Easter mass, set to take place this weekend, in order to prevent any possible security incidents.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 17, 2014, on page 3.

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Summary

The Cabinet Wednesday appointed a female head for the Civil Service Board and approved a plan to address the deteriorating Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut.

Chaired by President Michel Sleiman at Baabda Palace, the Cabinet appointed Fatima Sayegh as the new head of the Civil Service Board for a six-year term.

Sleiman said that Tourism Minister Michel Pharoan should launch a swift plan for this purpose, accompanied by a media campaign.

Sleiman called on relevant officials to consider ways to open a road in Lebanon connecting the village to the country.


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