The following are a selection of stories from Lebanese newspapers that may be of interest to The Daily Star readers. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
International-Lebanese preparations to establish Syrian refugee camps
The United Nations is discussing the possibility of establishing camps for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Amin Awad, U.N. refugee coordinator for Syria, said.
The official said the camps would be established far from the border and front lines between Syrian militants “to avoid what happened in Arsal and ease the burden of the presence of many refugees in different places.”
He said that there must be an international strategy among donor countries to support the Lebanese state and added that the Lebanese government would decide the locations of the camps.
Salam’s government fills 30 vacant posts in 50 days
Awaiting the “awakening” that can finalize the salary scale draft law, the Union Coordination Committee maintains its strike next week. Sources said that Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan and Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil are set to meet prior to Wednesday’s Parliament session to reach an understanding over the revised form of the draft law.
Speaker Nabih Berri has expressed his frustration at the strike carried out by public sector employees and the call by teachers to boycott official exams.
Berri revealed his disappointment to his visitors, saying he was quick to hand a copy of the wage hike draft-law to the UCC when a ministerial-parliamentary committee amended it.
Meanwhile, ministerial sources said that Friday’s Cabinet session in Baabda was “exceptional and calm.” The sources said that President Michel Sleiman reiterated his objection to remarks by the Iranian supreme leader Gen. Yahya Safavi that the borders of Iran end at the Mediterranean Coast in south Lebanon.
Sleiman asked Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to investigate the remarks and address them wisely. Bassil said that Lebanon’s Ambassador to Iran, Fadi al-Hajj, had informed him the comments were not accurate quotes.
Obeid advances in presidential race
Former MP Jean Obeid's name is gaining traction as a presidential candidate, and even Saudi Arabia appears to support him.
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri’s visitors quoted him as saying he heard suggestions from prominent Lebanese dignitaries that the March 8 and March 14 rival camps cast aside “confrontational” presidential candidates and work to find a consensus centrist candidate.
The four confrontational candidates are Kataeb Leader Amin Gemayel, Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea, Free Patriotic Movement Leader MP Michel Aoun and Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Frangieh.
The visitors said Riyadh is not interfering in the presidential election and is seeking to ensure Lebanese consensus to hold the election on time and avoid a power vacuum.
Iranian-Saudi disagreement freezes the presidential election
Unless the regional powers, particularly Iran and Saudi Arabia, change their stances, it will be difficult to hold the Lebanese presidential election on time.
Saudi King Mohammed Abdullah Bin Abdel-Aziz asked his son, Foreign Minister Prince Abdel-Aziz, to stop secret contacts with Iran via Omani Foreign Minister Youssef bin Alwi.
Still, diplomatic Arab sources said they expect the serious discussions over the presidential election to start after Thursday’s session, and that Saudi-Iranian meetings could still lead to a breakthrough in the election.