Lebanon News

Cabinet fails to agree on appointments ahead of session

Ministers attend a Cabinet session at the presidential palace in Baabda, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The Cabinet will not tackle the thorny issue of administrative appointments in Wednesday’s session, ministerial sources told The Daily Star.

There is still no agreement about top posts in the judiciary, the sources said, adding that deals had been reached on names for other sectors. Internal differences have left high level jobs in the diplomatic corps, the judiciary, Tele Liban and the Customs Department vacant.

Despite a strike Wednesday by public sector workers protesting a delay in implementing a new salary scale, the Cabinet will not go into this issue. Prime Minister Najib Mikati has said the government will not submit the law to Parliament until it has decided how to fund the change.

Ministerial sources told The Daily Star President Michel Sleiman is expected to brief ministers on his meetings with foreign officials and members of the Lebanese expatriate community during his trip to South America last week.

The sources did not rule out the possibility that Sleiman will touch on comments made during his trip, when he seemed to distinguish between Hezbollah as a political party and a resistance group fighting against Israeli occupation of Lebanese territory.

In an apparent retort, Hezbollah’s deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem rejected such a distinction, saying: “We don’t have arms for the resistance and arms used for other purposes. We don’t have arms to face Israel and arms for domestic bickering.”

Mikati is likely to speak to ministers about his upcoming trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo to take part in the Francophone Summit.

Among the other items on the Cabinet’s 72-point agenda is a Foreign Ministry request to move UNIFIL’s headquarters from Bir Hasan to Baabda for security reasons, and an application from the Council for Development and Reconstruction for $77,000 to operate Sidon’s waste treatment plant.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 10, 2012, on page 3.




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