Cabinet resolves spending crisis, approves LL10 trillion loans.Summary: The Cabinet overcame Thursday the spending crisis that had paralyzed its work for months by approving advanced payments and treasury loans worth over LL10 trillion.
BEIRUT: The Cabinet overcame Thursday the spending crisis that had paralyzed its work for months by approving advanced payments and treasury loans worth over LL10 trillion ($6.7 billion) to cover public administration expenses for 2012 and finance projects in Tripoli and other areas.
Addressing the Cabinet meeting he chaired at Baabda Palace, President Michel Sleiman said priority should be given to an intra-Lebanese National Dialogue, scheduled to take place on June 11, and to energizing Cabinet work, Information Minister Walid Daouk told reporters after the meeting.
The third priority, Sleiman said, was to explain the Lebanese situation to Arab Gulf states which have issued warnings to its nationals against visiting Lebanon following a series of security incidents in the north. Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates, federation of sheikhdoms (2005 est. pop. 2,563,000), c.30,000 sq mi (77,700 sq km), SE Arabia, on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. and Bahrain have warned their nationals against travel to Lebanon following deadly clashes in Tripoli last month.
"The Cabinet approved an urgent draft law to allocate LL10.394 trillion in treasury bills to cover public administration expenses for 2012," Daouk said.
He added that the Cabinet also approved a treasury loan of LL150 billion to finance the implementation of some development projects in Tripoli and another treasury loan of LL450 billion to fund implementation of development projects in other parts of the country.
The decision to fund projects in Tripoli came after deadly clashes between armed supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad that gripped the country's second-largest city in recent weeks in a clear sign of the spillover spill·o·ver
1. The act or an instance of spilling over.
2. An amount or quantity spilled over.
3. A side effect arising from or as if from an unpredicted source: of the Syrian unrest into Lebanon.
Sleiman, who returned Wednesday from a one-day visit to Qatar and the UAE after visiting Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia (sä`dē ərā`bēə, sou`–, sô–), officially Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, kingdom (2005 est. pop. and Kuwait, said that his Gulf tour had been to brief officials in these countries on the situation in Lebanon and to seek their help in securing the release of the 11 Lebanese hostages held by Syrian rebels.
He added that Lebanon had been able in the past year-and-a-half not to serve as an arena for conflict or a springboard for any attack on any Arab country or interference in Arab affairs, particularly the Syrian crisis, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
Sleiman said that concerns voiced by Arab Gulf states over the security situation and warnings to their nationals against travel to Lebanon prompted him to move on three paths: To call for an intra-Lebanese National Dialogue which, he said, should be the first and permanent path in Lebanon; to energize en·er·gize
v. en·er·gized, en·er·giz·ing, en·er·giz·es
1. To give energy to; activate or invigorate: "His childhood Cabinet's work and streamline the citizens' affairs in all fields; and to explain Lebanon's position to Arab states, particularly Gulf states.
"I have sent the invitations to dialogue and I hope they will be accepted by all," Sleiman said.
He added that he had discussed with UAE leaders measures to expel a number of Lebanese nationals there.
"It was agreed that the sovereignty of each state is not a subject of discussion. But it is Lebanon's right to seek clarifications and pursue the issue," Sleiman said, adding that some progress had been made in this respect.
Sources close to Baabda Palace said Sleiman had received a pledge from UAE leaders to review deportation measures against a number of Lebanese nationals.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati Najib Mikati (Arabic: نجيب ميقاتي) (born November 24 1955) is an international businessman and a former Prime Minister of Lebanon. called on the Cabinet to meet next Tuesday and Wednesday to resume discussions on the draft 2012 state budget proposed by Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi, Daouk said. If the need arose, the Cabinet would hold another meeting next Thursday, he added.Political sources told The Daily Star that ministers had endorsed a replacement for Public Prosectuor Saeed Mirza, who is scheduled to retire at the end of next month, by naming his deputy Hatem Madi to the post.
Sleiman also asked that preparations begin for by-elections to fill the parliamentary seat left vacant following last week's death of Koura MP Farid Habib Farid Habib (Arabic: فريد حبيب , born 1935 in Kousba) is a Lebanese politician and a member of the Lebanese Forces party. He has been an MP in the Lebanese Parliament as a representative of Koura district since the 2005 legislative , who belonged to the Lebanese Forces bloc.
Ministerial sources said the Cabinet session had generally been calm although Public Works Minister Ghazi gha·zi
n. pl. gha·zies Islam
1. A man who has fought successfully against infidels.
2. Often used as a title for such a warrior. Aridi and Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour from Progressive Socialist Party The Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) (Arabic "الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي" al-hizb al-taqadummi al-ishtiraki leader Walid Jumblatt's bloc voiced their resentment over being sidelined from the talks held between Mikati and March 8 ministers this week that had eventually led to an agreement on the spending problem.
"Since there was a solution [for the spending problem], why was time wasted and was there political tension?" Aridi and Abu Faour were quoted as saying, according to the sources. They added that Sleiman criticized the two ministers for their remarks on the spending issue.
Hezbollah's Minister of State for Administrative Reform Mohammad Fneish said the agreement reached in talks between Mikati, Energy Minister Gebran Bassil, Health Minister Ali Hasan Khalil and himself had been to legalize le·gal·ize
tr.v. le·gal·ized, le·gal·iz·ing, le·gal·iz·es
To make legal or lawful; authorize or sanction by law.
le public spending. The agreement, reached by March 8 coalition ministers, Mikati and Sleiman during separate talks is part of a compromise to revitalize the Cabinet work.
Daouk said that Safadi would finalize the draft law to approve LL10.394 trillion to cover public expenses and present it in the next Cabinet session.
After the Cabinet's approval, the draft proposal will be forwarded to Parliament for final approval.
Media reports said Thursday Sleiman had warned that if Parliament failed to pass the Cabinet's treasury loans for 2012, he would approve it in a separate decree along with the disputed LL8.9 trillion in extra-budgetary spending for the Cabinet.
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