US congressional delegation calls for end to political disagreements in Lebanon
BEIRUT: Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati underscored the government’s commitment to implement international resolutions and maintain security and stability, while a delegation from the US Congress underscored the need to end political disagreements and to focus on solving the country’s economic and social crises.
Mikati expressed his appreciation for the United States standing by Lebanon’s side and supporting the military. The delegation said it supported Lebanon and supported the government.
President Michel Aoun told the visiting delegation that Lebanon began its exit from the severe economic crisis by establishing a program of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and reforms of the financial and banking systems.
Mikati announced on Friday that he would soon convene a Cabinet session to discuss more than 100 items on the Cabinet agenda.
Observers are counting on a meeting that will bring together Aoun, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri and Mikati on the sidelines of Monday’s Independence Day commemorations to break through the political crisis.
Labor Minister Mustafa Bayram said on Saturday: âThere are positive signs which suggest that we are facing a real opportunity to find a suitable solution to hold Cabinet sessions again. “
But he made it clear he could not speak about Information Minister George Kordahi, who angered Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, with his comments on the war in Yemen and his refusal to resign. because of them.
“We support any solution that preserves the ties, interests and sovereignty of Lebanon,” Bayram said. âWe have learned that Kordahi is ready to do what is in the best interest of Lebanon, through dialogue.
Hezbollah has thwarted Mikati’s numerous attempts to hold Cabinet sessions, which have been suspended since October 12, and several Hezbollah officials have stressed the party remains steadfast on its terms.
The party refuses to make any effort to resolve Lebanon’s diplomatic and economic fallout with the Gulf states and insists on dismissing Judge Tarek Bitar, who is leading the investigation into the Beirut port explosion.
Zafer Nasser, general secretary of the Progressive Socialist Party led by Walid Joumblatt, told Arab News: âThe party has no information on a near political solution to the crises in Lebanon. While we agree on the need to separate government and justice, it appears that the Shiite duo, namely Hezbollah and the Amal movement, are insisting that the cabinet not meet until Bitar is impeached because Hezbollah believes the investigations lead to implication in the explosion of the port of Beirut, whether this is true or not.
Nasser said regional solutions were needed to bridge the divide between Lebanon and the Gulf states, but regional agreements had not yet been fruitful.
In a statement Friday evening, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem demanded a solution for the entire justice system, which means the removal of Judge Suhail Abboud as head of the Supreme Judicial Council.
âThe judicial scene in Lebanon is unhealthy,â Qassem said. It has nothing to do with a certain incident or a particular judge. This is an entire judicial system that overlaps in unusual ways, and it needs to be reconsidered – a solution needs to be found. “
Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council, said on Saturday that there was a “real opportunity” to break the Cabinet deadlock and those concerned should not waste it.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib traveled to Moscow where he plans to meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Monday.
The ministers are expected to discuss the issue of Syrian refugees and Russian aid, Russia’s mediation to resolve the crises in Lebanon and the possibility of employing Russian investments in the country.
The Almarkazia news agency quoted a diplomatic source as saying, “Russia will consider the possibility of mediation between Lebanon and the Gulf states, but it would not want to take the matter upon itself and bear the consequences if its efforts fail. “
Bou Habib will receive satellite images of the day of the explosion in the port of Beirut, at the request of Lebanon. Russian space agency Roscosmos sent the images to Lavrov so that he could hand them over to Bou Habib.
Mikati is due to travel to the Vatican on Wednesday to meet Pope Francis.