Mikati: President to be elected when regional atmosphere is cleared out

NNA - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi received on Thursday in Bkirki former Prime Minister Najib Mikati who wished that this holiday would bring with it good news for the families of the kidnapped military personnel.

He also wished a President of the Republic would be elected soon in Lebanon.

"During the meeting, we talked about the current situation in Lebanon and the efforts undertaken by his Beatitude to elect a new president. I say efforts because there is no specific initiative but efforts with various parties, publicly and away from the spotlight, to facilitate the election of a new president," Mikati said.

Asked if he was still pessimistic about the impossibility of electing a new president in the coming days, despite the delegates' activity, Mikati said "we will have a new president, but not in the coming days or months, because this matter needs time, until the situation in the region gets clear."

Pertaining to the case of the military hostages, the former Prime Minister congratulated Salam on the road map that has been mentioned recently to resolve this issue, yet wondered "why we waited that long (four months) to come up with a road map?"

Tackling the presidential elections file, Mikati said "the Lebanese need to be aware that this country is for all of us, and we have one ultimate goal which is the interest of the nation that brings us all together."

"Unfortunately, some parties are connected to foreign sides and comply with orders from abroad, adding to the fact that Lebanon is part of this region. Thus, we cannot talk about solution in Lebanon in a region shaken with tension and with continuous attempt to find solutions to its complex issues.

Mikati prods Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria

NNA - Former Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, urged Hezbollah to withdraw its troops from the Syrian battle field, calling on the Lebanese to work hand-in-hand on fortifying the nation by means of adopting a dissociation policy from foreign developments.


Mikati had been on a two-day visit to the German capital of Berlin during which he partook in the "Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2014".


"The people in Lebanon are sharply divided over Hezbollah's political approach. Hezbollah has a political and popular weight, as well as representation in the Lebanese government," Mikati said, but insisted that the Party withdrew from the Syrian conflict and practiced a self-distancing policy instead.


"This is the approach I adopted in my previous government," the Former Prime Minister reminded.

Taking part in a work session titled "The Middle East: In the Eye of the Storm", Mikati made an intervention in which he described to his international audience the simmering situation at the Lebanese local scene in light of the Syrian crisis and its ramifications on Lebanon. He also shone light on the huge influx of Syrian refugees which remains burdening the country by the day.

"This displacement has led to stressful effects on the overall Lebanese economic and demographic formula and basic infrastructure. The Lebanese cannot continue to bear the burden of this situation without the support of the international community, which we implore to play a more active and productive role in this area," Mikati said.

 

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The Ministerial Statement of PM Mikati’s Cabinet
Monday, Jul 04, 2011

The Ministerial Statement of Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Cabinet

30-June-2011

 

Your Excellency,

Respectful MPs,

We hope that our Government represented in front of your esteemed Assembly will be able to work (through the confidence it will obtain from the representatives of the Lebanese people), in team solidarity, for Lebanon to be able to continue confronting the diverse challenges that lie before us, in order to preserve to country’s unity, security and stability.However, the persistence of this coping ability requires a collective national act on different levels in accordance with our government’s motto “all for the country…all for work” that we are committed in front of your esteemed assembly to fulfill. 

Your Excellency,

Respectful MPs,

Our government is committed to the full implementation of the constitution and the Taef agreement. The mission of our government is to rebuild trust and solidarity among the Lebanese, which will consolidate the national unity and coexistence and enable Lebanon to rise through its constitutional institutions.

Knowing that our government believes in the importance of national partnership that represents equal rights and responsibilities, the cabinet is committed to attain social justice and sustainable development in all the regions through comprehensive developmental & Economic plans and financing program since we consider such programs necessary for the consolidation and protection of our national accord and that supports the eradication of any discrimination among all Lebanese, and ensures the achievement of national stability.

Your Excellency,

Respectful MPs,

1. The government emphasizes its adherence to the principle of the state's unity and referential status in all matters concerning the country's public policy so as to preserve Lebanon and its national sovereignty. These pillars, along with the constitution are the guidelines that will inspire our government to consolidate civil peace and prevent any form of manipulation in civil peace and security. This mission of preventing any form of manipulation in civil peace and security is the responsibility of legitimate National Army and the National security sources alone, and no other armaments will share this responsibility with the legitimate (National Army and National Security Sources) arms. Therefore, the cabinet commits to maintain its support to the National Army and Security Sources as well as to provide their equipment to be able to fulfill their tasks in protecting the Lebanese from threats and to fighting chaos, terrorism, and crimes while respecting constitutional liberties.

2. The government is committed to work on ending Israeli occupation to remaining Lebanese occupied territories; in addition to ending Israeli aggressive practices and spying operations that violates Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. The government adheres to the right of Lebanon through its people, army and Resistance to liberate and retrieve the Shebaa Farms, Kfar Shouba Hills and the Lebanese part of the Ghajar Village, as well as to defend Lebanon in confronting any aggression through all legitimate and accessible means and to hold on to its right to use its water and oil resources and to consolidate its maritime borders. The government will persists on working through national dialogue in order to unify Lebanese position concerning a national and comprehensive strategy to protecting and defending Lebanon.

3. The government also confirms its commitment to the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 in all its articles and appeal to on the United Nations to stop permanent Israeli violations and threats of Lebanon's territorial integrity and sovereignty in order to fulfill the implementation of the resolution and move from stopping aggressive actions to reaching permanent cease fire. Moreover, the government stresses on the permanent cooperation between the Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL in its assigned missions, taking in to account, the positive relationship between Southern Lebanese and UNIFIL and the high appreciation for UNIFIL sacrifices by all Lebanese.   The Government will abide to truce according to the Taef agreement and will request compensations regarding Israeli continuous aggressions.

4. On the Arab level, our government will work on strengthening Arab solidarity away from politicization, and emphasize our faith in the necessity of joint Arab action within the Arab League. The government is keen to emphasize its gratitude for the political and economic support of Arab states. Lebanon is looking forward to the continuation of this support as it is a source of strength for it.

5. The government recognizes the development of Lebanese-Syrian relations to the level assumed by historic ties and joint interests between the people and the countries as stipulated in the Taif Accord. The government finds the exchange of diplomatic representation to be a step forward in that direction, which would lay the foundation to address joint causes and will continue to work on the implementation of joined agreements  and  finding solutions to issues that both countries agree upon and that are still pending.

6. The government commits to following up on the issue of missing Lebanese nationals and detainees in Syria, and is determined to do everything required in order to resolve this issue and end the suffering of their families.

7. The government will facilitate the issue of the return of Lebanese who are in Israel in accordance with the laws and regulations.

8. The government will also pursue Lebanon's adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Forced Disappearance. The government will therefore establish a national committee that will follow up on all issues regarding this matter. 

9. The cabinet will follow up on the issue of the disappearance of his Eminence Imam Moussa al-Sadr and his two companions, Sheikh Mohammed Yacoub and journalist Abbas Badr al-Din in Libya. The government also stresses the need to speed up the completion of the Judicial Council’s work and take national and international actions imposed by the laws in force to prosecute the criminals behind it.

10. The government will seek to strengthen Lebanon's fraternal relations with friendly countries. It highlights in this context the importance it attaches to deepening its relations with the European Union, international institutions and organizations in the context of cooperation, mutual respect and openness. Our government is reiterating its will to continue implementing bilateral and multilateral agreements including the cooperation programs between Lebanon, friendly countries, international organizations and institutions, that will serve the high interest of Lebanon according to the constitution. 

11. Knowing the fact that the government is committed to respect international resolutions, our government is determent to stimulate Lebanon’s presence in the UN and the international Security Council (in accordance with the non-permanent membership for this whole year). This will enable Lebanon to defend its rights and just issues especially the issue of Palestine in confronting Israeli aggressions including occupation of Lebanese and Syrian territories and Israeli violation of international laws. 

12. The government abides by the UN conventions, and is attached to the principles of international law and UN resolutions pertaining to the Palestinian people's national rights, including Resolution 194 that concerns the General Assembly. In this context, the government emphasizes its commitment to the provisions of the Constitution, and reiterates its call for the Palestinians' right to return to their homes and its adamant rejection of the Palestinians' naturalization in Lebanon. The government renews its commitment to the Arab peace initiative, which was adopted by the Beirut Arab Summit in 2002. The government will pursue its work in ensuring the human and social rights of Palestinians living on Lebanese soil and in asking states and international organizations to be aware of its duty toward them and the government will request an increase in UNRWA’s budget in order for it to be able to implement its mandate. The government will continue its follow up on the rebuilding of Nahr al-Bared camp, and work on improving the status of other camps.

13. The Government emphasizes on the importance of national dialogue as a need to resolve the political conflicts and to develop the culture of dialogue among the Lebanese. Our government is also concerned in the fulfillment of the national duologue resolution related to ending armed Palestinian presence outside the camps and tackling the issue of security and weapons inside the camps while stressing on the fact that the protection and security of the Palestinians living in the camps is the responsibility of the government alone. 

14. Knowing that our government respects international resolutions, the government is keen to reveal and expose the truth regarding the crime of the assassination of Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and his companions. The government will follow the track of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon that has been established in principle to prevail truth and justice away from any politicization or revenge in respect of avoiding any negative impact on Lebanon’s stability, unity and civil peace. 

Your Excellency,

Respectful MPs,

15. It will be one of the priorities of this government to launch a national workshop to prepare a new parliamentary election law that is appropriate and will fit the aspirations of Lebanese to achieve true and fair political representation. The reform programs that were put forward in the past and which covered a variety of options and reforms as well as proportional representation shall undergo thorough study and the government will work to speed up the necessary steps … in order for the law to be implemented within a timeframe of no more than one year from the date of the 2013 parliamentary polls.

16. The government shall work to revive diplomatic efforts abroad in order to connect with expatriates and work to organize expatriate committees and unify them. The government shall monitor the implementation of laws and decisions by the State Shura Council which deal with issues related to nationality and the government encourages Lebanese to reclaim nationality. The government will take steps and offer the necessary assistance to encourage Lebanese spread globally to register themselves at Lebanese embassies and consuls.

17. The government is committed to putting in place a draft law for expanded administrative decentralization that can develop regions in Lebanon economically and socially. The government will work to rectify the situation of independent municipality funding and search for appropriate solutions to revenue problems for municipalities.

Your Excellency,

Respectful MPs,

18. Our government considers the independent judiciary as the [institution] that protects all citizens. Therefore, the Cabinet is keen to revive internal trust within this legal body, as well as the trust of the people in it. The government will coordinate with Parliament in order to boost the financial situation of judges. The government will also prevent interference in judicial work and allow judges to carry out their duties in order to apprehend corrupt individuals. The Cabinet will increase the number of judges and speed up legal procedures and decrease periods of detention without charge. It will implement the five-point plan to transfer authority over prisons to the Justice Ministry.

19. The government will place great importance on social welfare projects based on social rights, especially for low-income families as soon as possible. The government will also place importance on those with special needs and ensure their rights through implementing law 2000/220 and ratify international agreements related to people with special needs.

20. The government will pursue a health reform plan, including the introduction of medical cards, the improvement of public hospitals and strengthening the role of health institutions in all regions.

21. Our government will revive the work of the Economic and Social Council so that the body can successfully carry out its duties in full.

22. Knowing very well the needs of the administration, this government will continue with the employment mechanism that was used previously in the Parliament, especially for grade A jobs based on competency and qualifications. The government will work to eliminate corruption and strengthen the regulatory bodies especially in the accounting council and the investigative center. This government will do this in order to enable it to carry out its mission in terms of accountability, inquiry and monitoring.

23. Given the government’s keenness in matters dealing with education, as this relates with future youth generations that seek to assist in building the future of their nation through the acquisition of knowledge and specialization, which we do not wish to see as means for them to go abroad this government will work toward significant progress in education development in order to meet the increasing advancements in different educational fields and the growing needs of the job market. The public schools and the national university will be of great concern academically, administratively, and financially. The government will help ensure the development of the Lebanese University and maintain its independence. Forming the university council will be one of our main priorities.

24. As for the cultural field, the government will create the national library, continue building public libraries and cultural institutions that encourage talents and protect their rights, and protect cultural properties from theft and illegal trade.

25. We have great hope in our youth since they are the main players in development. The government will work on implementing a national youth policy to meet their needs and ambitions and provide them with the necessary services. The government will also encourage anti-drug projects and punish drug promoters and dealers.

26. The government will meet athletic needs through maintaining sports institutions and strengthening the role of special needs athletes in sports.

27. As for the issue of the displaced, our government hopes to finalize all issues related including guaranteeing the return of some, developing affected areas [of the country], and providing job opportunities through necessary funding. The government will continue paying compensation for those harmed by the July 2006 war.

Your Excellency,

Respectful MPs,

28. Given the deteriorating growth rates in Lebanon following the regional and international economic developments, it is our priority to strengthen growth and limit the budget deficit in the treasury.

The government will reduce expenses, improve the country's revenues, and balance its debt to ensure economic and socio-economic equality. We affirm that a sound financial system is key to strong, long-term economic development. The government will resort to different procedural and legislative means to stimulate economic activity, particularly in the private sector, to ensure the basic components of the country's growth.

The priorities of the Finance Ministry are to:

1. Finalize the 2012 budget based on financial principles
2. Cut down on expenses and carry out audits of the government's accounts
3. Decrease the national debt and adjust the government’s services based on national revenue, given the importance of the revenue as an indicator of the public debt
4. Take advantage of the country's oil and water resources and public and maritime properties.
5. Introduce structural reforms in the tax system
6. Build the ministry's capacity and improve its performance, especially within the directorate of public debt and the Finance Ministry

Since the weak financial structure is is one of the most important obstacles mentioned, and due to the need for its rehabilitation and development, the government will work hard to the launch an investment program for spending in key sectors such as electricity, water and public transport, taking into consideration the overall plan for arranging lands, and securing funding required. The Government stresses on the use of the private sector experience to benefit from its abilities in administration and finance, and this will be through the completion of the draft law of partnership between the public and private sectors, that the government will work on obtaining the Parliament’s approval on and ensuring the organization of the partnership on the basis of peaceful tradeoffs.

Your Excellency,

Respectful MPs,

29. Our government will set the electricity sector as a priority and will work to implement the 2010 reform plan in a bid to improve the sector, stabilize electricity supply, and balance the finances of Electricite du Liban after estimating its cost and manpower requirements, and achieve this in a way that is not too costly for the country’s economy and citizens.

30. The government will set and execute the national strategic plan for the water sector, based on efficient administration by the Energy and Water Ministry, including the improvement of sanitation, water dams and the launch of a number of these dams in 2011, and prepare the ministry with resources both financial and human to implement this long-term strategy.

31. In the oil sector, the government will follow an oil policy to transform Lebanon from a consumer of fuel to a producer of a diversity of resources. We will begin by distributing exploration and drilling licenses in Lebanese territories at the end of 2011 following the issuance of necessary decrees. This requires the completion of oil exploration procedures and the demarcation of Lebanon’s maritime borders. The government will also implement a plan to store and refine oil and link Lebanon to oil and gas grids of the region through building a natural gas pipeline and a liquefied gas station in 2011. They will also implement the alternative implement alternative energy, especially gas, in the fields of transportation, industry, electricity, and domestic use to decrease costs.

32. In the field of agriculture, the government will improve the sector, considering it a key economic sector to generate jobs in rural areas and to provide food safety and security and ecological balance. The government will also continue to develop the sector and its infrastructure and strengthen oversight and checks. The government will take the necessary measures to promote agricultural exports and strengthen agricultural institutions and preserve natural resources, especially water.

33. Based on article 431, the government will implement regulations that will revive the economic side of the telecommunications sector by attracting investment and bringing in new technologies. The ministry will resolve any standing disputes and clarify related decrees and develop them. The government will also increase manpower and qualifications in the ministry and OGERO and it will set clear guidelines to better organize the workflow between the ministry and OGERO to handle investment, new technologies, protect Lebanese networks and national security. It will continue to work on the telecommunications infrastructure and better equip it through providing it with the necessary funding and manpower.

34. Industry sector: the government is committed to developing laws and institutions able to assist the sector. It will also create a committee to administer industrial centers and look for industrial zones. It will work to secure alternative energy and provide the sector with low-priced goods and services. The government will encourage exhibitions to promote Lebanese products and supply the sector with needed academic and professional capabilities.

35. The government will place great importance on the transportation sector through achieving steps, mainly finalizing the discussion over the sector’s policy and implement it. The government will focus on the transportation sector by continuing the plan to improve roads and execute new road projects in collaboration with the public and private sector. It will work on securing public transport for passengers to all regions in the private and public sector. It will also restore the railway network and find a solution to the problem of traffic by implementing a comprehensive infrastructure plan taking into consideration recommendations from the comprehensive plan to rearrange territories. In terms of marine transportation the government will work on improving and developing the infrastructure for trade ports which would secure best services and achieve the needs of the private sector to use the Lebanese ports for their logistics services so that it could become a point of departure to the Arab and European regions. It will improve the port of Tripoli so that it will be able to receive more shipments and revive maritime tourism on the Lebanese coast. As for air transportations, the government will work on reopening the airport of Rene Mouwad in Kleyaat and to develop the work in the Rafik Hariri International Airport.

36. The government will better the quality of services in health and social institutions and work on a new measure for nationwide healthcare coverage and social security. It will also take measures to control costs and end waste. The government will improve the work of the National Social Security Fund and intends on passing the law related to retirement and social security after the necessary amendments.

37. The government will be committed to reviving the role of the Environment Ministry and reevaluating its powers to implement regulations that will protect the environment. It will also spread environmental awareness that will preserve Lebanon’s natural resources. The government will work on cooperation with NGOs and regional institutions related to environmental development. It will strengthen the relationship between international companies to improve investment in the sector. It will execute policies and plans related to waste and quarries and to increase Lebanon’s forestation through a national strategy to manage its response to forest fires and protect national reservations.

38. Since the tourism sector is one of the most important sectors for economic development, the government will do its best to develop the sector and improve it in all regions. It will encourage the creation of more conferences and exhibitions, attract new tourists, provide competitively-priced services and develop the port of Jounieh to receive tourist ships. The government will revive the national council for tourism development and the higher committee for tourism.

39. The government will reevaluate regulations that govern the printed and audiovisual media through necessary up-to-date amendments. It is also necessary to implement a plan to revive the public media and revive the work of the higher council for media after restructuring.

40. Our government is committed to strengthening the role of women in life in cooperation with the specific women’s organizations based on international agreements including eliminating all kinds of discrimination against women through necessary decrees. It will also strengthen the role of women in administrative and official institutions especially in leadership positions.

41. The government will cooperate with NGOs to strengthen its role in national dialogue on political, economic and social issues in Lebanon.

42. The government will also work with unions and labor confederations to resolve social and economic problems to reach social security and political stability.

43. The government will establish a better relationship with the legislative branch through the ministry of parliamentary affairs and work on separating and balancing the world of the different branches according to the constitution and the national covenant.


Conclusion:

Your Excellency,

Respectful MPs,

The Lebanese are exhausted from words and are looking for actions, and this is what we are promising your esteemed Assembly today, who we look forward to cooperating with and in following up on the legislative work, supervision and accountability.This government (is a national team that) will go beyond its differences and work together to accomplish its mission, and face the challenges encountering Lebanon and our government commits to be faithful to the Lebanese expectations and aspirations.

Your Excellency, and fellow MPs, our cabinet, the cabinet of actions and not words, looks forward to the cooperation of your parliament and based on this Ministerial Statement requests your vote of confidence.

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