Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
THURSDAY, 24 APR 2014
08:39 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
30 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Lebanon News
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Cabinet’s first meeting: ‘Love. Romance. But no grudges’
New ministers wait for their cars at the entrance to Baabda Palace.
New ministers wait for their cars at the entrance to Baabda Palace.
A+ A-

BEIRUT: It’s 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Baabda Palace, and luxurious cars and convoys of ministers are beginning to show up. It’s just 30 minutes before the scheduled beginning of Prime Minister Tammam Salam’s first Cabinet session.

It is the first time the presidential palace has hosted a Cabinet session since last May, when the caretaker government of Najib Mikati met for the last time.

Information Minister Ramzi Joreige is the first to show up, soon followed by other ministers.

“How are you? I am back,” said a clearly thrilled Transport and Public Works Minister Ghazi Zeaiter, who served as a minister in two previous Cabinets.

Health Minister Wael Abu Faour was also in a good mood, even cracking jokes with reporters, while Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi insisted on shaking hands with every journalist present.

“Will you reconsider your decision [not to shake hands with me]?” Azzi cheekily asked one veiled reporter.

Salam’s first activity in Baabda Palace was to hold a meeting with President Michel Sleiman.

Commenting on the prospects for a productive Cabinet on his way to the session hall, Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Samir Moqbel said: “We can do a lot in four months or even four hours if we have the intention to work. ... But if we do not have this intention, we will do nothing even in four years.”

Salam’s Cabinet will resign once a new president assumes power. Sleiman’s term expires on May 25.

As the start of the session neared, more ministers showed up. Arriving together in one car were Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Education Minister Elias Bou Saab and Energy Minister Arthur Nazarian, all loyal to Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun.

Minister of the Displaced Alice Shabtini, the only woman in the Cabinet, arrived five minutes late.

Shabtini, standing out from the sea of dark suits in a pink blouse and a gray skirt, said she would be representing women “not only today, but God willing every time.”

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Fneish, from Hezbollah, was the last to arrive at 11:10 a.m.

Shortly before the session began, ministers, including rivals, shook hands and had brief chats. Zeaiter, who is from Speaker Nabih Berri’s Development and Liberation bloc, had a short conversation with his rival, Minister of State for Administrative Development Nabil de Freij, from the Future bloc.

Some rival ministers sat beside each other, such as Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan, from Hezbollah and De Freij, while Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon, from the Future bloc, sat near Fneish.

During the meeting, which lasted for over an hour, ministers formed a ministerial committee headed by Salam to draft the Cabinet’s policy statement within 30 days.

“Love. Romance. But no grudges,” Bassil said after the Cabinet meeting, in reference to the friendly ambiance that defined the session.

Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi was even more optimistic than Bassil, saying: “If the atmosphere that we had in today’s session remains as is for the next four months, this means the country will start finding its way out of [this] crisis.”

Around 30 minutes after the session finished, Joreige held a news conference to brief reporters.

The Cabinet is due to convene again once Salam’s committee finishes preparing the policy statement. The Cabinet will then vote on it and, if passed, will refer it to Parliament for a vote of confidence. More sessions are expected to be held once the government wins a vote of confidence, though not necessarily with the same positive atmosphere that characterized Tuesday’s meeting.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 19, 2014, on page 3.
Home Lebanon News
 
     
 
Lebanon
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Story Summary
Information Minister Ramzi Joreige is the first to show up, soon followed by other ministers.

As the start of the session neared, more ministers showed up. Arriving together in one car were Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Education Minister Elias Bou Saab and Energy Minister Arthur Nazarian, all loyal to Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun.

Minister of the Displaced Alice Shabtini, the only woman in the Cabinet, arrived five minutes late.

Some rival ministers sat beside each other, such as Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan, from Hezbollah and De Freij, while Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon, from the Future bloc, sat near Fneish.

During the meeting, which lasted for over an hour, ministers formed a ministerial committee headed by Salam to draft the Cabinet's policy statement within 30 days.
Related Articles
 
 
Security appointments split Cabinet, suspend session
 
 
Cabinet fills key vacancies, appoints oil committee
 
 
Lebanon's new Cabinet holds first meeting
 
 
Cabinet convenes at Baabda Palace
 
 
Rafik Hariri University Hospital could be closed
Show More
More from
Wassim Mroueh
 
 
In Parliament, a rare full house fails to come to a consensus
 
 
Mouawad: A new president for a new era, almost
 
 
Amine Gemayel: from consensus to contentious
 
 
The president who never was: Bachir
 
 
Meeting fails to resolve row between Future, grand mufti
Entities
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Thursday April 24, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
For Christians, blessed are the dividers
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
An Iran deal is close, but we’re not there yet
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS