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Hariri hopes Cabinet will witness great cooperation and solidarity.

NNA - In a press release by Prime Minister Saad Hariri's Press Office on Saturday, it indicated that the PM has expressed his hope that the cabinet will witness great cooperation between the ministers and will be united when taking the important decisions, noting that "we cannot waste anymore time and not even one day." Hariri expected the policy statement to be approved quickly, denying that there will be controversial items in it. It would be similar to the ministerial statement of the previous government and include all the reforms required by CEDRE and other conferences. He pointed out during a chat with journalists that the biggest problem facing the state is the $2 billion currently spent on electricity. He said: "We should do our best to reduce the budget deficit by one percent of the deficit to the GDP during the next five years to have financial stability. Question: To what extent will the problems that preceded the formation of the government continue in the government? Hariri: The situation in the country does not allow us to stop at the problems between parties. Of course there is competition between parties and this is acceptable. But what is unacceptable is to harm the interests of people for political differences. Now there is a government although its formation took time. This is only normal after an absence of parliamentary elections for nine years. I think we will witness great cooperation and solidarity and I hope the ministers will realize that the challenges are great and that we cannot waste time and not even one day. Question: How many sessions will it take to formulate the ministerial statement? Hariri: A draft has been prepared and they are now reading it. I think that on Monday or Tuesday we have to finish this matter quickly. Question: Including the controversial items and the issue of weapons? Hariri: There are no controversial items, there is the text that existed in the past, we will adopt it and will include all the reforms. Question: What are the most important challenges that you will face in the government? Hariri: The issue of approving the budget. The biggest problem we face today is the $2 billion spent on electricity. This is not squandering, as some believe, because the real squandering is that we do not solve this issue and we can do so by establishing power plants in Silata, Zahrani and Jihyeh, as we did in Deir Ammar. Question: What is your stance regarding the recent US State Department's decision about the Ministry of Health? Hariri: We were informed of this decision for some time now and it was issued on several occasions. Question: What name will the new government carry? Hariri: This will be mentioned in the ministerial statement. Question: How will the American stance be implemented, and is it an embarrassment? Hariri: No. It does not represent an embarrassment. This talk comes within what they always say about Hezbollah. They have laws that were issued in this respect and I do not think that Hezbollah or anyone will use his ministry for the interests of his political party. There are many ministries managed by party members. But does this mean that they will become the monopoly of these parties? The minister is a minister for all Lebanon and all the Lebanese, and the Health minister said this just after taking over the ministry. Question: Are you concerned about the international aid to the Health Ministry? Hariri: I do not think so. If things are clear and transparent and work in the Ministry of Health and all ministries is done the way it should, no one will face any problem. As long as the citizen is benefiting from this ministry, why does anyone object to that? The Lebanese citizen who suffers from a disease is a Lebanese citizen, regardless the party he belongs to. Question: There is talk about new deposits for Lebanon. How true is that? Hariri: Let us finish first with the ministerial statement, which is my priority. All the reforms stipulated in CEDRE Conference, as well as other reforms and the adoption of new budgets starting 2019 and the next five years, and the reduction of 1 percent of the GDP deficit are the basis for financial stability in the country, because we cannot continue as we are now. Question: Will there be tough decisions? Hariri: Tough decisions are not tough. We are facing a crisis because revenues are less than expenditures and this creates deficit. We have to take decisions and they will be exceptional and temporary due to the current crisis. About the abolishment of the Ministry to fight corruption, he said that "it is because we now have a law to combat corruption and protect those who unveil the corrupt. The Parliament will approve a law to establish the national authority against corruption. All countries of the world have such bodies, but the problem here is that we create bodies without activating them". Arrival Prime Minister Hariri arrived noon at the Grand Serail, where a formal ceremony was held for him. He reviewed the Premiership guards led by Major Mohamad Berjawi. He then shook hands with high-ranking employees at the Serail and advisors, led by the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers Fouad Fleifel. Hariri then headed to his office where he received well-wishers and accredited journalists and took pictures with them. {PM Press Office} ========================

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Publication:National News Agency Lebanon (NNA)
Date:Feb 2, 2019
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