Cabinet Meets but Fails to Reach Decision on Mechanism, Trash Crisis

The government failed on Thursday to reach a decision on its working mechanism and the waste crisis but agreed to continue discussions next week.

The session was held at the Grand Serail amid a “disgust” expressed by Prime Minister Tammam Salam over the failure to bridge the gap between the bickering sides in the government.

The government did not discuss details on how to dispose of waste because Salam had clinched a deal with Free Patriotic Movement ministers not to tackle any issue before resolving the dispute on the cabinet's decision-making mechanism.

He had also hinted that he would resign over his concern that the cabinet crisis would not be resolved.

Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said he asked Salam whether he would resign if no agreement was reached between the ministers.

“All options are on the table,” Rifi quoted the PM as saying.

The cabinet will meet on Tuesday to continue its dicussions, said Information Minister Ramzi Jreij.

After the session, Environment Minister Mohammed al-Mashnouq reiterated that he was seeking to find landfills in several regions to allow Sukleen to transport the uncollected waste in Beirut and Mount Lebanon.

The garbage crisis erupted after the Naameh landfill south of Beirut was closed over the weekend under a decision taken by the government months ago.

Al-Mashnouq thanked some municipal chiefs for cooperating with him and allowing waste to be dumped in locations in their regions.

As waste continued to pile up on the streets, the Beirut Fire Department said it had doused more than 140 fires set on dumpsters across Beirut since Monday.

It urged citizens not to burn waste.

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