Lebanon news updates for Wednesday September 22


Here are the latest updates on current issues in Lebanon,

National dialogue meeting at the parliament
National dialogue meeting at the parliament

Dialogue session / nothing achieved  

Civil society sources ruled out  last night the possibility that a demonstration will be held on Tuesday to coincide with the dialogue session, and added that a meeting in the evening would settle the decision, VOL 100.5 reported

Speaker Nabih Berri was the first to  arrive at the  parliament to chair the dialogue session

MP Michel Aoun arrived at the  parliament seconds after Berri, even though it was rumored that he will again skip the  all party talks. MP Ibrahim Kanaan accompanied Aoun

Former Minister Ahmed Karami will represent former PM Najib Miqati in the dialogue talks because the latter is traveling to France today to meet with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, VOL (93.3) reported

Both PM Tammam Salam  and FM Gebran Bassil will be arriving alter this morning because they are meeting  separately  with  the  visiting  Norwegian Foreign Minister Burg Brandi who  arrived in Beirut from Larnaca, Cyprus.

Finance minister Ali Hassan Khalil , Deputy Speaker MP Farid Makari , Minister Michel Pharaoun all arrived at the parliament building to take part in the dialogue session.

The most important item on the agenda is the election of the president but March 14 is reportedly not optimistic the issue could be resolved today
A Hezbollah official said Sunday that his party is willing to wait a thousand years for the election of a strong president. “Whoever wants to buy time to bring us a president who is not strong is wasting the country’s time. We will wait for a thousand years in order to get a president of this type,” said MP Mohammad Raad, the head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc.
MP Boutros harb, former PM Fouad Siniora and MP Sami Gemayel all arrived at the parliament building to take part in the dialogue session.
Al Jadeed reported that nothing major is expected to happen today

The session is scheduled to start at 12:00 noon Beirut time
The session kicked off at 12:12 PM
The national dialogue session ended at around 3 pm
The next rounds of national dialogue are expected to be held on October 6, 7 and 8.

Phalange party leader MP Sami Gemayel told reporters that the promotion of army officers was not discussed at the dialogue table, while MTV reported that the issue was discussed but failed after Siniora rejected it.

LBCI reported that a closed door meeting was held between Berri, Salam, Aoun, Jumblatt and Raad after the session ended.
The closed-door meeting reportedly tackled the military appointments. Jumblatt said after leaving the meeting at parliament: The debate is continuous and serious and I won’t reveal anything now, but seconds later he added:” We won’t agree, unless they take us to the Seychelles island, ” VOL 100.5 reported

LBCI also reported that during the dialogue session, Aoun gave up his demand on electing a president by a popular vote and spoke instead of a proportional representation electoral law based on 15 electorates.

Activists gathered near An Nahar daily building not far from the Nejmeh square where the parliament is located square, wearing sportswear with printed slogans demanding the toppling of the regime.

Police have put concrete blocks as part of exceptional security measures they are taking near the square and the roads leading to it, a security official said.
The police will confront any attempt to breach the erected barriers , al-Joumhouria newspaper reported.

An official said that security forces will take extra measures near the Justice Palace in Beirut after they received information that a previously unknown group calling itself the “Nation’s Cry” will hold a sit-in in the area to call for distancing the judiciary from corruption.

The “Nation’s Cry” is holding  a sit-in near the Beirut Justice Palace.


General Security said it arrested a Syrian for heading a terrorist group that planned to use  booby-trapping vehicles.

The Lebanese army arrested nine Syrian national and a Lebanese in the southern town of Shebaa while they were attempting to sneak into Syria.

A senior official of a  major political party  expressed concern over the  domestic situation, and was quoted as saying , “I will not hide  from you the fact that ( PSP leader MP) Walid Jumblatt fears  a major security incident in Lebanon .

German intelligence warned that the number of extremists had increased sharply and expressed serious concern that they were recruiting among refugees.

Civil society activists are currently  throwing  balls from across a concrete barrier  in the direction of the parliament  where dialogue talks are taking place   with anti-government slogans marked  on them.

The martyr’s square has turned into a Soccer field , where activists are currently  throwing  balls with anti-government slogans marked  on them.
The Lebanese army arrested 9 Syrian nationals and Mahmoud al-Hujeiri who was trying to smuggle them from the northeastern town of Arsal to the outskirts of the border town of Shebaa.

Unpaid electric bills
Labor Minister Sejaan Qazzi’s media office commented on the unpaid electricity bills in his name by saying:
“The bills are those of a rented house that the minister has left 15 years ago.”

Garbage issue
Agriculture minister Akram Shehayyeb told reporters after meeting minister Nuhad al-Mashnouq:
“There is no alternative to resolve the garbage crisis other than the participatory solution that we have reached and we’re seeking to overcome all obstacles”

He added: “We know that there are some that have objected against the reopening of the Naameh landfill for 7 days but the position of the municipalities’ is clear.”

He credited the You Stink protesters for his garbage proposal
“The waste management plan is a victory for the popular protest movement and had it not been for them, the file would not have reached any solutions.”

MP Michel Aoun said after the weekly meeting of the change and reform bloc :
“A law based on proportional representation is needed and I suggested the 15 electorates that we had agreed on in Bkirki as Maronites. The vast majority (of dialogue parties), except for ( former PM Fouad) Siniora, said that it is the only solution.
“During the closed-door meeting, we discussed the issue of appointments, which was not ripe.”

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