The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri chaired today at the Grand Serail the first meeting of the ministerial committee in charge of drafting the ministerial statement.
The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil, Youth and Sports Minister Mohammad Fneish, Education Minister Akram Chehayeb, Minister of State for Presidency Affairs Salim Jreissati, Public Works and Transportation Minister Youssef Fenianos, Information Minister Jamal Jarrah, Minister of State for Administrative Affairs May Chidiac, Economy and Trade Minister Mansour Bteich, Minister of State for Refugee Affairs Saleh Gharib, Labor Minister Camille Abousleiman, the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers Fouad Fleifel, and the Director General of the Presidency of the Republic Antoine Choucair.
After the meeting that ended at five in the afternoon, the Minister of Information Jamal Jarrah said: The committee held its first meeting, which took a long time with the aim of completing the biggest part of the draft policy statement. Most of the basic items have been completed, and discussions will continue tomorrow afternoon at the Grand Serail.
The atmosphere of the meeting was very positive, and the discussion objective, aiming at strengthening the principles of this statement in order for it to be clear and approach things directly and responsibly, because this is the government’s commitment to the Lebanese people. We can say that if we hold a second long meeting tomorrow, such as today’s meeting, it may be the last meeting, or we may need another short meeting for a final reading of the draft, hoping to complete it tomorrow.
Question: Are there any conflictual items?
Jarrah: There were no conflictual items during this meeting on all raised issues, especially the sectoral, productive and economic issues, the issue of electricity, reducing budget deficit, launching a new economic vision that would reduce the deficit, thus leading to financial and monetary stability, and that deals with economic issues. And just as Premier Hariri said, it is time for a bold, explicit, clear and fast approach.
Question: Will the relationship between Lebanon and Syria be addressed in the ministerial statement?
Jarrah: This subject has been postponed to tomorrow’s meeting because we did not reach it today.
Question: What about the people, army and resistance trilogy?
Jarrah: This issue was solved in the previous policy statement, and I believe that the same text will be adopted.
Question: Did the problems that occurred yesterday evening reflect on the atmosphere of today’s meeting?
Jarrah: No. What happened yesterday stayed outside the meeting room.
Question: What are the most important items that were approved today?
Jarrah: Overall, all economic, development, electricity and environment sectors have been approached. It is also normal that we referred to CEDRE, which is the basis of the economic approach.
Question: Were there any objections on it?
Jarrah: No. All political parties agreed on it in the past and therefore all these parties are convinced that CEDRE is the only way out of the economic crisis.
Question: Minister Chehayeb made some remarks on the electricity file and said that Minister Jumblatt’s tenseness yesterday is due to disagreement on some issues, including electricity
Jarrah: In fact, a discussion, and not a dispute, took place over the issue of electricity. The discussion focused on the adoption of practical plans that can have rapid implementation, and the accompanying procedures. We all know today that if we increase the production of electricity without increasing the tariff, we would be contributing to the increase in deficit. We have to set realistic dates for the implementation of these plans.
Source: National News Agency