SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 3 October 2022, Monday |

Diplomatic escalation in Ministry of Foreign Affairs…Any political agenda?

Once again diplomatic formations come to the fore, this time due to pressure from a number of ambassadors and diplomats in the central administration, who consider that they have the right to be allocated abroad after they have exceeded the legal period that they must spend in the ministry in Lebanon, which is set at 3 years. Their number is ten, and they have been in the administration for five years, and they have taken escalatory steps, starting with refraining from conducting work on Thursday and Friday in the ministry, which means that all transactions related to passports and papers for expatriates and missions will not be available, and this is a step that sets a precedent in the history of the Lebanese Foreign Ministry, as it has never occured even in the most difficult circumstances that Lebanon went through. No one can deny the eligibility of this outstanding issue since 2019, and the injustice inflicted on unformed diplomats, especially since their 16 colleagues have exceeded the ten years period, specified by law for their missions abroad. However, the problem so far has been the extent of political interference in the formations, which has become discretionary and depends on quotas, and the perception that was recently prepared in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the advisor to the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, Tariq Sadiq, in cooperation with the former director of Bassil’s office, Chancellor Hadi Hashem, did not rely on a clear criterion other than the quota criterion, a month and a half before the parliamentary elections, so that many irregularities characterized the formations, such as the proposed promotion of Basil’s advisor Hadi Hashem to the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary, above more than 25 Maronite ambassadors, and a proposal to appoint him as head of the New York mission and limiting formations abroad to some ambassadors who are not affiliated with the movement, who have not completed the 10 years period. Foreign Minister’s sources say, that he will present the formations to the presidents after his return from the Vatican, where he accompanies the President of the Republic. Mikati’s sources confirm that the formations are being studied slowly, and may be completed before the parliamentary elections, and there is talk about a serious search to hire 10 new diplomats, at a time when diplomats abroad are complaining about the delay in receiving their salaries in hard currency. It is a breakdown on every level.

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  • Sawt Beirut International