Bassil Meets Berri: Oil File Will Only Be Tackled when Mustaqbal Decides so

Caretaker Energy Minister Jebran Bassil stated on Monday that the possibility of holding a cabinet session to address the oil and gas exploration file lies in the hands of the Mustaqbal Movement.

He said: “This issue will only be addressed when the March 14 camp, mainly the Mustaqbal Movement, decides so.”

He made his remarks after holding talks at Ain el-Tineh with Speaker Nabih Berri.

Moreover, the minister accused caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati of seeking to appease the March 14 camp through refraining from calling cabinet to address the pending issues.

“Miqati, first and foremost, caters to his interests with the Mustaqbal Movement,” explained Bassil to reporters.

“We no longer need President Michel Suleiman and Miqati to tackle the oil file because it is in the hands of the March 14 camp,” he lamented.

“We have grown bored with repeating these demands and we leave it up to the people to judge the officials,” he added.

“I leave it to the president and caretaker premier to judge how important it is to tackle the oil and gas exploration file, which will help ease the burden off the people's shoulders,” said Bassil.

Earlier on Monday, Berri had expressed support for the cabinet to hold a session to tackle the petroleum file.

Miqati had told several newspaper on Monday that he is mulling to hold a cabinet session after Lebanon remained without a new government for more than seven months, and he did not rule out putting two controversial oil decrees on its agenda.

He added that oil and gas exploration was at the top of the priorities list.

Bassil had been urging him to invite ministers for a session to approve two decrees that call for demarcating 10 maritime oil exploration blocks and setting up a revenue-sharing model.

Delays in issuing the decrees could postpone offshore drilling and exploration.

The main point of contention lied in Miqati who argued that the constitution did not authorize him to hold a session for that purpose and insisted that it lacked political consensus.

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved.