| 26 October 2021, Tuesday |

President Aoun calls on ministers to conform to their plans and the content of the policy statement

The Cabinet decided to continue investigations into the circumstances surrounding the Beirut Port explosion and approved a series of judicial and educational appointments, in addition to Honor Council appointments.

The Cabinet convened in a session today at the Presidential Palace, and decided to continue research in the circumstances surrounding the judicial investigation of the Beirut Port explosion crime, in a session to be held tomorrow. The Cabinet also appointed members of the Constitutional Council, President of the Lebanese University, Director General of the Justice Ministry, Dean and members of the Honors’ Council. The Council of Ministers was also briefed on the appointment of judges as members of the Supreme Judicial Council.

The President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, asserted the need for the ministers’ visions and action plans to be consistent with the content of the ministerial policy statement.

“We face several great challenges which require speeding up work to confront them, knowing that crises seem to be faster” President Aoun said, calling for expediting the approval of the 2021-2022 budget.

Cabinet Statement:

After the session, the Information Minister read the following statement:

“The Cabinet convened in its weekly session, chaired by President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, and attended by Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, and ministers except the Foreign Affairs Minister who was absent for attending the Conference of Non-Aligned Countries.

At the beginning, the President pointed out that this session is dedicated to presenting ministers’ visions and plans of action, each in the field of his ministerial responsibilities, and the difficulties they face in their work, bearing in mind that these plans must comply with the content of the government’s policy statement. The President also stated that “We all face numerous challenges which require expediting work to confront them, knowing that crises seem to be faster”. President Aoun also asserted the need to expedite the completion if the 2021-2022 draft budget.

Then, several ministers discussed the circumstances surrounding the judicial investigation into the crime of the Beirut Port explosion, and the necessity that the Cabinet takes a position on this issue. After deliberation, it was decided to continue discussions in another session tomorrow.

Afterwards, the Cabinet approved the following appointments, outside the agenda:

-Appointing Dr. Bassam Badran, as President of the Lebanese University.

-Appointing Judge Albert Serhan and Lawyer Mireille Najem as members of the Constitutional Council.

-Appointing Judge Mohammed Al-Masry as Director General of the Justice Ministry.

-Appointing members of the Council of Honors, Messrs.: Ali Hamad, Antoine Choucair, Adnan Daher, Brigadier General Michel Abou Rizk, Brigadier General Ali Makki, and Mr. Hamad will be the Council’s Dean.

The Education Minister indicated that he will present, to the Cabinet, proposals for the appointment of the Deans of the Lebanese University College, according to the nominations of year 2018, within two weeks.

The Cabinet was also briefed on the appointment of Judges, Danny Sheble, Elias Richa, Mireille Haddad and Habib Mezher, as members of the Supreme Judicial Council, based on the proposal of the Justice Minister and the approval of the President of the Republic, and Prime Minister”.

Questions & Answers:

Then the following dialogue took place between Minister Kordahi and the journalists:

Question: How was the atmosphere of the discussion in the session?

Answer: “Discussions were very cordial between the ministers, and it was decided to resume in tomorrow’s session”.

Question: Is the request the replacement of Judge Al-Bitar?

Answer: “No, this issue was not discussed, but all matters and circumstances were deliberated, and we will continue the discussion tomorrow”.

Question: Is it possible to say that the Cabinet sessions will be suspended if a decision is not taken in accordance with the demands of the ministers of Hezbollah and Amal?

Answer: “No, no one said that. No discussion took place in this regard”.

Question: Why was the session suspended for a short time and the ministers went out to contact their references?

Answer: “I am not aware of any contact by the ministers with their references, as I was in the session. It can be said that the discussion was positive and cordial, and there was understanding from the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the ministers. We have not set up “barricades” within the government”.

Question: Is there a certain atmosphere from the Minister of Justice regarding Judge Al-Bitar?

Answer: “It will entail a discussion with the Minister of Justice. There is a separation of powers, as it is not possible to include politics in the work of the judiciary. The discussion continues, and tomorrow we will continue”.