Lebanon Information Minister Tarek Mitri briefed the media following Thursday’s cabinet session:
The ministers expressed regret over the anti-UNIFIL protests in the South and affirmed their desire to maintain UNIFIL’s safety and good relations with residents in its areas of operations.
The cabinet also affirmed UNIFIL’s role in protecting Lebanon’s interests, sovereignty and stability on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and agreed upon rules.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri called for a stop to the unacceptable attacks against UNIFIL
On July 3, a UNIFIL patrol was attacked and overpowered by Shi’ites in the southern village of Kabrikha. Officials said the villagers, after one of them had been arrested, pelted UN troops and seized their weapons.
On June 29, Shi’ites attacked a UNIFIL vehicle between the villages of Adeisseh and Kfar Kila. The Shi’ites blocked a road and hurled stones toward a UN patrol during what officials termed a “maximum deployment exercise.” The exercise, meant to ensure troop readiness, was said to have ended on the following day.
“It is incumbent on the Lebanese authorities to ensure the security and freedom of movement for UNIFIL within its area of operation,” UNIFIL commander Maj. Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas said last weekend.
PM Hariri also brought up the “the necessity of not stirring up important issues via leaks to the media, but raising them in the cabinet in order to take the necessary procedures.” This was in reference to the leaks on the ALFA employee who was arrested over spying for Israel
The ministers also discussed the deal reached between the Education Ministry and the UNION of secondary public school teachers.
Palestinian civil rights
the issue of Palestinian civil rights had come up in the session, but decided to leave this matter to the parliament.
President Michel Suleiman briefed the cabinet on his meetings with Qatari and Bahraini leaders in June, while Hariri briefed the ministers on his recent meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Both Hariri and Suleiman said that administrative appointments should be decided without delay.