President Michel Aoun, PM Saad Hariri and the ministers stand for a moment of silence for the Istanbul shooting victims, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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The new Cabinet got off to a flying start Wednesday, approving two long-awaited decrees that finally cleared the way for the first licensing round of offshore oil and gas exploration, overriding objections by MP Walid Jumblatt.The two long-awaited decrees on offshore oil and gas exploration topped the agenda of the Cabinet session chaired by President Michel Aoun at Baabda Palace.The Cabinet formed a ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri and comprised of the finance and energy ministers to study the taxation regulations related to oil and gas activities, Riachi said.He added that another ministerial committee was formed headed by Hariri and included the ministers of finance, energy and planning to study a draft law pertaining to the oil resources in Lebanese territories. Riachi said that the Cabinet also endorsed a decree pertaining to determining the expenses of the committee tasked with overseeing applications by Lebanese expatriates to regain Lebanese nationality.Hariri also called for the formation of a ministerial economic committee he had proposed in the previous Cabinet session to draw up a strategy to revitalize the battered economy.
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