NNA - The Cabinet approved the Policy Statement, today at the Presidential Palace in a session held at 9:00 am, chaired by President Michel Aoun, and attended by Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, and Ministers.
The session was preceded by a meeting between the President and Prime Minister, in which the most prominent issues, in the Draft Policy Statement (made by the Ministerial Committee and issued by the Government) were discussed.
After the session, Information Minister, Manal Abdel Samad, made the following statement:
“The Cabinet held a meeting, chaired by His Excellency, the President of the Republic, and attended by the Prime Minister and Ministers. At the beginning, His Excellency welcomed the Prime Minister, and Ministers, and thanked the efforts made to accomplish the Policy Statement, stressing the need to set priorities in every Ministry because the projects are numerous, and it is necessary to highlight what is essential and urgent, more than other issues.
The President of the Republic said: “Work must begin immediately, after the Government gains confidence, to make up for time in the past weeks. I am confident that Ministers can carry out all assigned tasks”
His Excellency asked the Prime Minister to add the issue of return of displaced Syrians to the Policy Statement, especially since the majority of these displaced came to Lebanon escaping difficult security conditions, and must return after it has become safe in most of Syria.
The President pointed out that some countries have been opposing the return of the displaced, and we wonder about reasons for this opposition. Even though we raised this file in all international and regional meetings, to help and encourage them to return, and we are still awaiting international response.
Afterwards, the Prime Minister said “This session is devoted to approving the Policy Statement’s format, which we consider as a work program defining our aspirations and methodology of thinking. This Statement is not reproduced, it resulted from 11 meetings, and will represent a model for following Governments. I praise the efforts exerted to complete the Policy Statement in its final form, and also acknowledge the seriousness that prevailed in Policy Statement- committee discussions, and among members, especially the effort made by the Deputy Prime Minister (Minister of National Defense)”.
PM Diab added that “The Policy Statement is a result of facts and studies, and does not carry any personal approaches or individual calculations. Our ambition is much greater, however pragmatism put us in front of non-ignorable facts”.
The Prime Minister indicated that the name he gave to this Government is “The Government of Facing Challenges”, and asked each Minister to draw up a list of projects to be ready during our meetings with international officials, as well as during work visits.
Afterwards, the Cabinet’s Secretary-General read out the Policy Statement, and some amendments were done. Afterwards the Statement was approved”.
Questions & Answers with Journalists:
Question: What amendments were made to the statement?
Answer: Technical amendments were added as a result of observations, made by concerned parties, i.e. concerned Ministers.
Question: Why was the issues of the displaced added as long as it is in the Statement?
Answer: It is true that it exists, but the desire was to clarify that the displaced in Lebanon are not political refugees, but rather security ones, whom came due to security conditions in order to ensure their safety, this matter is not disputable.
Question: Does this specify Lebanon’s position concerning the return of the displaced?
Answer: A clear and undetailed position, because ideas are visions, in the framework of the Ministerial Statement.
Question: Are there promises within the Policy Statement that set short deadlines for securing electricity?
Answer: There is a plan which was approved in the 2019 Cabinet, which will be implemented with some amendments if necessary, and this is an issue of the specified Ministry, which is the Energy Ministry to study all alternatives and secure electricity as promised.
Question: Why was the name changed to “The Government to Face Challenges”?
Answer: The Prime Minister intended to change the name from “Exceptional Government” to “The Government to Face Challenges”, in order to prevent any confusion which might be negatively understood by the name. Knowing that the Government, and all Ministries, are positive, and that it is also not understood in another framework as an exception for anyone. Hence, the clarification was made, but indeed the Government faces challenges that we all have to face.
Question: Has a paragraph been added to the electricity issue, which allows modifications?
Answers: Yes, the implementation of the electricity plan has been approved with some modifications, if necessary. This is a matter which refers to studies which will be conducted and is technical of course, and the concerned Minister will clarify all matters.
Question: has the “Triple Equation” based on Army, People and Resistance, been changed?
Answer: No, there is no dispute about this equation.
Question: Was the displaced issue inserted, as the President desired?
Answer: This item was noticeable, and His Excellency the President, gave his remarks and added them.
Question: Is it true that there was tension between Ministers?
Answer: There was no tension, because the discussion took place in an objective, scientific and frank manner.
Question: Will investigations continue concerning the issue of smuggling money abroad, till the end?
Answer: This matter was noted in the Policy Statement.
Question: What is the role of Lebanon at the foreign policy level?
Answer: The Foreign Minister gave valuable comments and ideas in this regard, and were added to the statement.
Question: What are the procedures to gain confidence of the international community?
Answer: The main confidence is the people’s confidence and that of the Parliament, because it is elected by the people. As for the international community, when they notice the reforms which will take place and the seriousness of the work and the objective approach in dealing with problems and files, we inevitably regain their confidence.
Question: Was the Eurobond issue raised?
Answer: No, this topic was not raised today.
----------------- Presidency Press Office