BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam Saturday called for a Cabinet session Thursday morning, despite previously announcing his unwillingness to hold any session before agreements are reached.
Salam had expressed his decision to freeze Cabinet sessions until the dispute over the Lebanese University file is resolved yet has decided to resume the sessions next starting Thursday, ministerial sources told The Daily Star.
Prior, the prime minister had informed ministers that he would not call for a Cabinet session until a comprehensive agreement on the education dossier is reached that would allow the Cabinet to pass the LU decree in its first session, the sources told The Daily Star.
Disagreements arose because while Progressive Socialist Party ministers insist on having the dean of the Medical College, Pierre Yared, remain in his post, the Kataeb party have upheld their demand for a share in the university council and have nominated one of their own as a commissioner.
The Cabinet had initially approved giving full-time status to the LU contract professors, but several ministers refused to finalize the professors’ status without approving the appointment of new deans at the university, saying it should be a package deal.
Ministerial sources said that Salam’s decision to resume sessions came after he agreed with ministers to set the LU case aside and discuss the other urgent matters, until the disputing parties reach an agreement.
Parliamentary sources from the Reform and Change bloc announced Saturday the bloc's decision to attend any Cabinet session called for by the Prime Minister, and that they oppose the boycotting of sessions.
They stressed that the Free Patriotic Movement would not agree on any decision in the LU case unless the file is finalized or progress is achieved before Thursday’s session.
Separately, Salam discussed developments on the local and regional scenes with Saudi Ambassador Ali Awad Asiri, who visited him at the Grand Serail Saturday.