| 27 February 2024, Tuesday |

New diplomatic formations, including quotas, discretion, and the “lion’s share” for Bassil

Partial diplomatic formations, which sources say may be issued in the cabinet session on Wednesday, are being prepared to be passed by the current government
But despite the need to resolve this file, which has been postponed since 2019, the timing of its resolution, and the information that was revealed about the bases on which the formations were established, raises many question marks, especially since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently working to close about 25% of the number of missions abroad, in line with the plan to reduce expenditures in foreign currency. So why the rush in approving the formations before determining the number of embassies that will be dispensed with? According to the information, the proposed formations are partial and are limited to returning 18 ambassadors who have exceeded the legal period of ten years abroad, noting that the number of those who have exceeded the legal period is 16, while the heads of missions with the title of ambassador “of the second category,” and those who have exceeded the seven-year period are 14. The formations were drawn up by the advisor to the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, Tariq Sadiq, in cooperation with the former director of Bassil’s office, Counselor Hadi Hashem. It is known that Sadiq had previously worked on the formations that were issued, when Bassil was Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Informed sources talk about discretion in choosing the ambassadors who will be returned to Lebanon and about political targeting as well, which was evident in adding the ambassadors of Madrid and Vienna to the list of those summoned from abroad, and they did not exceed the period of ten years , and sources say that Bassil wanted to replace the ambassadors of Madrid and Vienna because they are affiliated with the Lebanese Forces, with two names of those close to him, and he had previously tried during former Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti’ ministry, but the latter rejected discretion and insisted on the same standard in choosing the names.
Regarding the discretion adopted in the formations, the information reveals a trade-off that took place between Mikati and Bassil that facilitated the passing of these formations. that is an exchange between Mikati and Bassil in the Washington and New York centers, so that a Sunni for Washington is Ambassador Mustafa Adeeb, and a Maronite for New York is Counselor Hadi Hashem, knowing that the promotion of Hashem to the rank of ambassador constitutes an administrative violation, as 20 Maronite advisors who deserve to be elevated ahead of Hashem in terms of seniority were skipped. The exchange agreement between Mikati and Bassil stipulated the centers of Berlin and Madrid, whereby a Sunni, Hani Shmeitli, would be appointed in Madrid, and a Christian, Ambassador Gadi Khoury, would be appointed in Berlin. In the proposed formations, Bassil’s share includes appointing Ambassador Wael Hashem as a permanent representative to international organizations in Geneva, and Ambassador King Al-Hajal as a permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna.
According to the information, these formations also had the approval of President Nabih Berri and Hezbollah, and they stipulate the appointment of Farah Berri as Lebanon’s ambassador in London, Ali Mawlawi in Romania, and Hussein Haider in Switzerland.

  • Sawt Beirut International