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Oil, Wages to Next Year, Syrian Ambassador Urges Lebanon to Stop Infiltrations

Oil, Wages to Next Year, Syrian Ambassador Urges Lebanon to Stop Infiltrations
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Zeinab Essa

As everything in this world, time elapses and reaches ends. And 2011 is no different from this reality. The cold last hours and minutes of this year are expelling their last breathe.

However as ends become near, facts are revealed and lies as well as tricks are dispelled.

In Syria, Arab observers entered Homs announcing that the situation is reassuring and from Bab Amro, here is a real part of the picture: We have seen armed outlaw groups and talk of tanks and military columns does not exist.

In Lebanon, where parts of the picture open the doors towards another stage, truth is unfold on the following: the Higher Defense Council is to meet Thursday to discuss al-Qaeda infiltration to Syria while wages and oil are delayed to next year.

HSC to Discuss al-Qaeda

Meeting at Baabda Presidential Palace, the government tasked the army and security bodies with "safeguarding the country's borders in complete fashion" and tasked the Higher Defense Council with convening to discuss the matter.

"As-Safir" Lebanese daily sources informed that during the government's last session in this year, Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn briefed ministers on the information he had obtained on al-Qaeda infiltration from the Northern town Arsal to Syria.

Nahhas who confirmed that he didn't get the information from his home reiterated that he received the information from the concerned authorities.

The sources said President Michel Suleiman stepped in to settle the issue, by urging that the Higher Defense Council be tasked with follow-up.

After the governmental session, Information minister Walid al-Daouq told reporters that "the government recommended that the army and security forces safeguard the border with Syria in complete fashion, and there was a call for the Higher Defense Council to convene to study the matter."

When he was asked point-blank whether al-Qaeda militants had entered Syria, Daouk said that the media had "exaggerated and politicized the issue".

Meanwhile, Syria's ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdel-Karim Ali, called the "Lebanese authorities to take Ghosn's statements seriously and to take decisive measures to halt the smuggling of weapons and fighters from Lebanon to Syria."

In an interview with "al-Intiqad" website, he urged Lebanese officials to not "succumb to foreign pressures" in dealing with the issue of controlling the Lebanon-Syrian border, while cautioning against "manufacturing issues that do not exist, such as Syrian refugees in the north."

Regarding the Syrian situation, ALi Ali Abdel-Karim Ali pointed out that "Damascus is serious and keen to break down all the elements of the dangerous conspiracy and that's why it dealt with the Arab League mission of observers."

"We are optimistic with Syrian people's awareness and their rallying around the reform led by President Bashar al-Assad in order to preserve national unity as well as Syria's role in facing all greed and foreign schemes led by the US-Zionist project."

Oil, Wages to Next Year

After the ministerial session, PM Mikati chaired a meeting to study draft legislation related to the oil sector.
Energy Minister Gibran Bassil unveiled that "a number of draft decrees had been approved and would appear on the government's agenda for its next meeting, on Jan. 4."

"We are going to recognize the governing body of the oil sector, their financial and administrative systems," he added.

Hoping that "the government would endorse the decrees," Bassil acknowledged that "what's important is to launch the exploration process."

Finalizing the decrees is a step that "highlights the seriousness of the Lebanese government and Lebanon in addressing this issue."

"According to the studies and analyses we're conducting and developing day after day, our oil wealth is spread across our entire exclusive economic zone and it's not limited to a certain area and there are no disputed areas," Bassil revealed.

"The oil wealth is located in the south, center, north, near the coast, away from the coast and in all areas," the minister added, noting that "therefore we have several opportunities and capabilities that allow us to easily utilize this oil wealth."
Moving into thorny wages issue, the wage hike was postponed till next year after the Shura Council didn't issue its stance on the topic ahead of the government's session.

In remarks to "as-Safir", Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas uncovered that he held talks with the members of the Council in which he hoped that the consultative body would approve the government's decision.
"The approval should have come by the end of the year because I wanted for the Lebanese to receive the raises before the New Year," he said.

Campaign against Hizbullah: Admission of Failure

At another Lebanese concern, "as-Safir" Lebanese daily stopped on the Western Media campaign against Hizbullah.
"Hizbullah has always formed to the Americans, Europeans, and "Israelis" a difficult puzzle to solve," the paper viewed.

Commenting on the false western claims of Hizbullah illegal activities, the daily further added that "they sought to torpedo it as party through the persistent attempts to shake its organizational structure, the structure of its People and incubator environment, the financial structure, and above all to blow up its security and military structure either through political aggression, security and intelligence attacks, and sometimes through a military aggression."

"It is well known that their attempts to dislocate and dissolve Hizbullah's structure led all their military, security, politics, and intelligence instruments into a failure when facing the party's strength and power of presence," "as-Safir" stressed.

Noting to the timing of the western campaign against Hizbullah few days after the thrashing slap that Hizbullah send to US intelligence with the detection of its Beirut station, the paper wondered "aren't these accusations a smoke bomb to cover up the terrible breach, which hit the top intelligence in the world?"

Source: Lebanese newspapers, Translated and Edited by