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Oil’s Decree to Next Year, Lebanon Not Part of Arab Observers

Oil’s Decree to Next Year, Lebanon Not Part of Arab Observers
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Zeinab Essa

To New-Years vacation, move. But take care; files remain stuck at every political crossroad.

This is the case of Lebanon that reels between regional developments, security files, livelihood pressures, and political measures.

Ahead of the 2012 coming year, the Lebanese scene is governed by the following:
Gov't , Shura Council: Wages on Top

As the government is scheduled to convene its last session this year at Baabda palace Wednesday noon, the Shura council is expected to issue its stance regarding wages' decree.

"As-Safir" Lebanese newspaper reported Wednesday that "there was a very slim chance for the Council to announce its decision on the salary boost ahead of the session."

"The Christmas bonus pay that the workers were promised of practically flew," the paper added noting that "what is decisive in this context is that wages file won't be a key item in the ministerial meeting unless the Shura Council passes its opinion before or during the session," the paper added.

Meanwhile, "as-Safir" mentioned that President Michel Suleiman, House Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the members of the government will stay at Baabda palace for lunch after the session.

According to "as-Safir", the president is expected to deliver a speech on the occasion of the end of the year.

In parallel, Economic Committees headed by headed by former Minister Adnan Kassar asked President Suleiman during a meeting at the presidential palace Tuesday that he should "help them solve the problem and resort to the agreement reached between them and the General Labor Confederation."

A member of the delegation that visited Suleiman, Mohammed Shuqair, confirmed to "an-Nahar" that "he asked the president not to sign the new wage decree if it was Okayed by the Shura Council because he would be signing the decree of the collapse of Lebanon's economy."

He further added that "during the next 48 hours, the Economic Committees will inform both PM Mikati and Speaker Berri about their stance to fix the mistake of the last decree."

Appointments Racing time

At another level, Mikati's sources confirmed to "al-Akhbar" daily that any item will not be introduced from outside the agenda of the Council of Ministers' meeting."

The paper denied all circulated information on the possibility of introducing diplomatic promotions of the second category (advisors) to the first category (ambassadors).

According to sources, Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour finished the draft of promotions between the two categories mentioned, which includes more than thirty consultants.

Confirming that "the project has received the blessing of all political sides," "al-Akhbar" reported that "it included all who are eligible for promotion, and ruled out all those incompatible."

For its part "as-Safir" asserted that "government is not to approve any administrative appointments in Wednesday's meeting," predicting that "the issuance of batches of appointments is to start from next month."

Oil To Next Year

In another concern, oil decree topic was discussed between Speaker Berri and PM Mikati.

Berri's circles informed "as-Safir" that "rushing to issue oil decrees is a major Lebanese concern and Mikati promised to do so."

Uncovering that Berri contacted Energy Minister Gebran Bassil focusing on this subject; sources said to "as-Safir" that "the majority is to introduce the subject during the council of ministers."

In an interview with the daily, Bassil clarified that the "Energy Ministry carried out its tasks concerning the issue and submitted the projects to the government."

"The issue should remain away from any political dimension, and it should be viewed as a national wealth," he told the daily.

Urging the government to move to the next step especially appointing the administrative committee and issuing licenses to oil exploration companies to start drilling at the beginning of 2012, Bassil said "several sides were behind the delay."

Lebanon Not to Participate in Syria's Observing
"As-Safir" also learned that "Mikati called on the ministerial committee concerned with the oil exploration issue to convene on Wednesday afternoon at the Grand Serail in order to pave the way to discuss the issue at the first ministerial session after the holidays."

Considering situation in Syria, Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour announced Wednesday that "Lebanon decided not to participate in the Arab League observer mission in Syria in order to dissociate itself from the crisis."

"PM Mikati decided after discussing the issue with President Suleiman not to participate in the mission," Mansour told "as-Safir" newspaper.

He reiterated the PM's decision not to send 10 observers to Syria as part of the Arab League team aims at avoiding any "meddling in the internal affairs of an Arab country."

Mansour noted to the daily that the decision taken by Lebanon was in order to
"avoid entering in the Arab disputes."

Source: Lebanese newspapers, Translated and Edited by