Government to Convene Again Before Caretaking Phase

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Government to Convene Again Before Caretaking Phase

The government convened on Wednesday in what was supposed to be its last session before it assumes a caretaker status starting May 21.

However, the government decided to meet again for the last time on Monday before it stops holding sessions during the caretaker period.

As Information Minister Melhem Riachy captured what he called as a "farewell" photo of the ministers, PM Saad Hariri made sure to point out that this session may not be the last one.

"It is not you who decide if this is going to be the last session," President Michel Aoun told Riachy.

At the beginning of the session, President Aoun condemned the violence used against Palestinian protesters in the wake of the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, saying that Arab fragmentation is negatively impacting the Palestinian cause.

Aoun also informed ministers that Lebanon had been invited to take part in the emergency Islamic Summit set to be held Friday in Istanbul, and that Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil would represent the country.

Aoun hailed the holding of parliamentary elections for the first time in nine years, commending the efforts exerted by relevant ministers and security forces.

For his part, Prime Minister Saad Hariri said that the government, which will take on a caretaker role next week, has achieved many accomplishments thanks to the political consensus which prevailed over the country.

Hariri stressed the need for this consensus to persist as Lebanon is set to enter a new phase following the election of a new Parliament and the formation of a new government.

“I call for preserving democracy that is safeguarding our system and strengthening freedom away from provocation," he said.

During the session aimed at discussing 83 items, the government granted the license for the Greek Orthodox Bishopric to establish a university named “Saint George University in Beirut".

The government approved the wind power plan and renewed the contract sealed with the Fatmagul Sultan powership, operated by Turkish power-barge company Karadeniz Holding, for one year.

Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil had suggested that the contract would be renewed for a three-year period.

Following the session, Minister Marwan Hamadeh said that he had voiced reservation on all electricity-related items, adding that he had consented to the renewal of Fatmagul contract provided that the price being paid to the Turkish company would be renegotiated.