BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Cabinet convenes at Baabda Palace

President Michel Sleiman, right, heads a Cabinet session in Baabda, Thursday, March 13, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Cabinet convened Monday at Baabda Palace to discuss 30 items on its agenda, including the renewal the Central Bank's vice governors' four-year terms.

"There will be discussion over the oil decrees, renewal of the vice governors' terms, and other appointments," Health Minister Wael Abu Faour told reporters before stepping into the 5:30 meeting.

Former Energy Minister Gebran Bassil and Speaker Nabih Berri have urged the caretaker government of former Prime Minister Najib Mikati to pass two essential oil decrees on revenue sharing and the number of blocks to be auctioned off.

The decrees are needed for Lebanon to kick off its licensing auction.

Earlier this year, Bassil postponed for the third time an auction for the licensing of offshore gas exploration in light of the government's failure to pass the decrees. He set April 10 as the deadline for the auction.

The Energy Ministry estimates that Lebanon has at least 95 trillion cubic feet of gas and 750 million barrels of oil in 45 percent of the country’s surveyed territorial waters.

Abu Faour also said that the draft law for the new public sector salary scale will be debated in light of the Union Coordination Committee’s general strike this week.

Angered by the Parliamentary committee’s failure to approve and put to a vote the government proposal to raise the salaries of civil servants, the UCC called for a general strike Wednesday along with a protest outside Parliament.

Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said the government was also scheduled to appoint Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous as the head of the Internal Security Forces.

Basbous became acting ISF chief after Rifi retired from his post last year.

Other ministers said the Cabinet will discuss the recently drafted plan to restore security to the northern city of Tripoli and the Akkar region.

 

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