Cabinet Approves Funds for Security Agencies amid Partial Boycott by FPM

The cabinet on Thursday approved the payment of the so-called “secret funds” that the security agencies use in their clandestine activities, as the Free Patriotic Movement continued its partial boycott of the cabinet meetings.

The session was attended by Education Minister Elias Bou Saab of the FPM amid the absence of Foreign Minister and FPM chief Jebran Bassil.

The cabinet approved funds for the army, the Internal Security Forces and the General Security as a dispute erupted over the funds of the State Security agency.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam resolved the issue by saying that he will personally handle the issue of paying the funds of State Security, media reports said.

The cabinet also approved a decree on distributing urgent funds to a number of ministries from the treasury's reserve.

At the beginning of the session, Salam stressed the “need to activate the role of the council of ministers in addressing the people's daily needs,” as he voiced hopes that “the government approves the state budget for its referral to the parliament.”

Ahead of the cabinet meeting, Bou Saab noted that Bassil would not attend the session today as the "situation remains unchanged" from the previous meetings.

“We support appointments in all the vacant posts. We want to have complete partnership and to accept the other,” said Bou Saab.

Culture Minister Rony Araiji confirmed that “today's cabinet session agenda has several items that include the mobile telecom tender, the conditions book in addition to appointing a new governor for Mount Lebanon.”

Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon pointed out that “double standards are being used in the decisions made regarding the (military and security) appointments.”

Environment Minister Mohammed Mashnouq stressed the need to keep Lebanon away from the Arab conflicts, underscoring the necessity to avoid any provocative rhetoric.

He added that any aggressive rhetoric against Saudi Arabia would promote rigidity and be of negative impact on the presidential election.

Agriculture Minister Akram Shehayyeb noted that the violent domestic political situation in the country has reached a high level, hoping the general atmosphere would calm down to help the country resume stability.

Source: Naharnet

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