President of the Republic, Gen. Michel Aoun, asked the Council of Ministers to reconsider the decision taken in a previous session related to the electricity plan, and to proceed with the plan as scheduled in the year 2019, while Prime Minister Dr. Hassan Diab stressed on the implementation of the previous government decisions adopted last year including the Construction sites for electric power production plants, considering that the cabinet decision dated 5/14/2020 comes in the context of implementing the previois plan without contradicting it.
This came during the cabinet session held this afternoon in Baabda Palace that was preceded by a meeting between President Aoun and PM Diab during which they discussed items on the agenda.
The Council of Ministers decided to approve the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants to extend the mandate of UNIFIL for a period of one year. And, approve in principle, the use of the Ghosta plant for sorting and treating solid household waste after Phoenix Energy agreed to the government terms.
Minister of Information Manal Abdel Samad, read the following statement following the cabinet session.
“The Council of Ministers held its weekly meeting at 2:00 pm in the Baabda Palace, headed by President Michel Aoun, and attended by Prime Minister Dr. Hassan Diab and the ministers.
At the beginning of the session, President Aoun renewed his wishes on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr, calling on addressing the issues that had accumulated as a result of the holiday, especially those related to the economic sectors, after the endorsement of the McKinsey plan that laid out a general vision of the situation in Lebanon on the productive sectors. He considered that it is necessary for everyone to cooperate in both the public and private sectors to reach quick measures to boost the economy.
President Aoun added: “With regard to the electricity plan, I asked the Council of Ministers to reconsider the decision taken during the previous session, for the public interest and not from any private interest. The plan noted the establishment of three electricity production plants in Zahrani, Deir Ammar, and Salata. Whereas, the Deir Ammar plant is still suspended for known reasons, and the Zouk and Jiyyah plants are old and there is a need to replace them with new ones, which imposes the establishment of alternative plants, including Selata plant, and since the study prepared stats securing electrisity 24/24, therefor the project is of importance in relation to negotiations with international institutions, so it is necessary to proceed with the electricity plan as was planned in the year 2019, and based on the decision of the previous government. ”
The prime minister said:
”Today, I toured the northern Bekaa region, accompanied by the Vice President and Army Commander, and reviewed the measures taken to close illegal crossings used for smuggling between Lebanon and Syria.
Initially, it can be said that these measures are supposed to lead to a large-scale of controlling the smuggling operations. and we need to continue efforts, in order to close this file, which causes great damage at various levels in Lebanon.
On Wednesday, we also visited UNIFIL headquarters in the south, and the Lebanese army headquarters south of Litani , and announced from there that Lebanon adheres to the role of the UN forces and its agency in Lebanon without any amendment, and reiterated Lebanon’s commitment to implement Resolution 1701 and the need of obliging the Israeli enemy to implement its part by ceasing its violations of Lebanese sovereignty by land, sea and air.
On our agenda today, was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants request to extend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force operating in south Lebanon for a period of one year, ending on August 31, 2021.
As for the parliament session yesterday, after the honorable parliament approved a stimulus and social security plan worth 1200 billion L.L. in order to support families, small industrial enterprises, farmers and craftsmen, decisions and decrees are required to determine the distribution mechanism and beneficiaries.
With regard to the electricity plan, the Council of Ministers affirms its adherence to the ministerial statement in terms of the electricity plan and its implementation of previous government decisions No. 1 of 4/8/2019 and No. 1 of 10/21/2019, which included establishing electric power production plants, and consider that Cabinet Decision No. 2 on 5/25/2020 come in the context of implementing this plan without contradicting the others ”
The cabinet reviewed the agenda and took the appropriate decisions regarding:
Approval on the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants to extend the mandate of the UNIFIL in south Lebanon for a period of one year ending on August 31, 2010.
– Approving the request of the Ministry of Agriculture to authorize the Minister to sign a draft agreement that includes technical assistance and a -gift in kind- with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) for enhancing the livelihoods and food security of the host communities of displaced Syrians in both Lebanon and Jordan, by promoting sustainable agricultural development”.
Approval of the Ministry of Social Affairs request to renew the joint contracts between the Ministry, NGOs and religious organizations from 01/01/2019 to 12/31/2020.
The Cabinet also decided in principle to approve the use of the Ghosta plant for sorting and treating household solid waste, after Phoenix Energy agreed to the government’s terms.
– Finally, the council decided to postpone the appointments until next Thursday’s session.
The minister of information answered journalists’ questions.
Q- the reason for postponing the appointments!
A- the main reason was the deliberations that took place regarding data that some ministers did not have sufficient information on. The other reason is the the appointment mechanism, so the postponement was on the principle and not because of the names presented.
Q- will the mechanism be ready before the next Thursday’s session?
A- As you know, the cabinet was in the process of forming a committee to set up a mechanism for appointments, and agree on a mechanism for appointment that takes into account the mechanism previously approved in the year 2010, as well as the draft law that was in Parliament. The draft law became law, and a discussion took place about the extent of its constitutionality, but this was not the subject of our discussion, rather we discussed the mechanism reached by the ministerial committee, which has become ready, and this mechanism will be deliberated for implementation.
Q- the President’s request that the nomination of the candidates be returned to the concerned minister?
A- there is no dispute over the existence of a mechanism for appointments, because the mechanism sponsors a basic constitutional principle, especially clause “C” of the constitution that provides equality and justice, but the issue was about the mechanism that would be applied, and the most important is to unify the mechanism adopted in appointments on all ministers so that there is no discrimination.
Q- Why was no appointment made until this date?
A- This is not because the government does not want to take a decision, but rather because there are some obstacles that we are trying to overcome. Some appointments could have been made in today’s session, but there was great concern by the President that the appointments be made with the consent of all. We cannot make appointments in important, fundamental and sensitive positions in the Lebanese state without being consented.
Q- The names proposed were the cause of the problem and not the mechanism?
A- What was proposed was the specifications of the candidates and not specific names.
On the mechanism that I adopted for appointments regarding TL (the state- run TV, ) I made it clear TL- TV is a joint-stock holder company owned by the Lebanese state, and the mechanism that was approved in 2010 does not apply, nor the law that was approved yesterday in parliament, but, I will work within the framework of the authority of the Minister of Information’s discretion in an objective mechanism that respects the constitution, justice and equality, and that considers transparancy. We follow the procedures of the mechanism, and all the course of these appointments are successively presented to the public. Of course, I got the approval of the Council of Ministers and the President of the Republic on the mechanism, in all the stages that we have come to. At the end, the mechanism does not violate any constitutional principle or any constitutional or legal article. Three names will actually be submitted to the Cabinet backed by convincing objective data, enabling us to defend each name on the basis of the transparent criteria that we adopted since the first day.
Q- The financial appointments?
A- It is a subject of follow-up and things are subject to scrutiny because these positions require some kind of agreement on a specific mechanism, principles and specifications.
Next Thursday’s session will discuss the mechanism of appointments, which was approved in the Ministerial Committees, and in light of the research, the appropriate decision will be taken.– Presidency Press Office
Source: National News Agency