Bickering took place at last cabinet meeting


Lebanese media on Tuesday said bickering took place at the cabinet meeting yesterday:

First between PM Saad Hariri and Public Works Minister Ghazi Aridi over the powers of the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) and the extension given to a contractor charged with projects at Rafik Hariri International Airport. Aridi reportedly presented documents that proved CDR neglect, demanding the Council’s hands off .Hariri, according to Al-Akhbar daily, rejected Aridi’s criticism or clipping CDR powers.”I will not accept to relinquish the powers of the Council,” al-Akhbar quoted Hariri as telling ministers.The argument, ended with an extension of the contract with MEAS, provider of operational and maintenance services for facilities and systems of Beirut airport.

The second bickering , according to Al-Akhbar, took place between Energy Minister Jebran Bassil and Telecommunications Minister Sharbel Nahhas over giving Finance Minister Raya al-Hasan power to extend a loan deal with the French government since it was not approved by Parliament and was not even discussed by Cabinet. Hariri argued that this agreement “being a donation” does not need Parliament approval.The ministers responded by saying that the French grants are loans with an annual interest rate of 5 percent.

An-Nahar newspaper has also reported that Minister Mohammed Fneish raised the issue of privatization “We cannot accept privatization of the two telecommunications companies nor selling them,” he said.