Miqati Seeks to Revive Cabinet, Says Oil Exploration is Top Priority

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Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati is mulling to hold a cabinet session after Lebanon remained without a new government for more than seven months, and did not rule out putting two controversial oil decrees on its agenda.

In remarks to several local newspapers published on Monday, Miqati said: “A caretaker (cabinet) usually stays for a short time. But we have entered the eighth month and nothing indicates that we wouldn't stay in a resigned status for the ninth and 10th month and maybe more.”

“This requires certain steps and initiatives,” he said.

Miqati has launched a series of consultations with top officials to find the appropriate time to hold a cabinet session in a way that would not provoke any party.

The caretaker PM had been refusing to hold sessions, stressing that such a move was unconstitutional.

But he seems to have shifted from his stance, saying “I am very serious in reviving cabinet sessions and I don't think that there is any legal or constitutional hindrance to (exercise) my full authorities.”

“Let the government play its role and take the appropriate decisions on all necessary and urgent issues pending the formation of a new cabinet,” he said.

Premier-designate Tammam Salam has so far failed to come up with a line-up, blaming the rival March 8 and 14 camps that are putting conditions and counter-conditions on his proposals.

Miqati also told the newspapers that oil and gas exploration was at the top of the priorities list.

Caretaker Energy Minister Jebran 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.

But in his remarks to the dailies, Miqati did not rule out putting the decrees on the agenda of a session and “hoped for a consensus on the vital issue” because “it requires more consolations” among the different parties.

“I don't think anyone is against oil (exploration) … but I want to study the issue from all its aspects because some (parties) have (expressed) reservations,” he said.

Comments 20
Thumb geha 09 December 2013, 08:01

it seems they reached a deal on the distribution of the commissions.
a bunch of thieves.

Thumb benzona 09 December 2013, 08:21

he's dreaming. this oil doesn't belong to them. they are an illegal and illegitimate government, with a matching parliament.

Thumb mckinl 09 December 2013, 09:41

Really? The current government is illegitimate? Then pray tell who is the legitimate government?

Thumb lebanon_first 09 December 2013, 08:53

nigerians starve because they are lazy and they get 7 children per woman. Not because their political class.

Thumb benzona 09 December 2013, 09:39

i've never seen lazier than lebanese.

who's got 1+ maids/slaves per household to serve them? nigerians or lebanese?

Thumb mckinl 09 December 2013, 09:42

Hmmmm ... looks like M14 may want to sit down and talk after all eh geha?

Thumb mckinl 09 December 2013, 10:06

@ ice-man

That is a problem for M14 should Mikati declare Lebanon in emergency and convene the cabinet to take decisions now isn't it ice-man?

Thumb lebanon_first 09 December 2013, 08:51

Nope. I think the shift is a move a la joumblat. Mikati is moving back towards HA becauses the syrian regime is winning.
Since HA and Aoun want the oil file to move, and they are right to want so, Mikati joined the fray. But he wants to get the sunni street to accept that.

Also if the oil file moves and we do get gas, true politicians will benefit. But the whole country will benefit too. Stop being so negative...

Lebanon will rise like a phoenix.

Thumb lebanon_first 09 December 2013, 16:14

FT. you are absolutely correct re HA. But I think that you should expand your definition of M14 to its orginal message that happened in 14 march 2005.

Thumb mckinl 09 December 2013, 09:39

Convening the cabinet is the governments only hope. Mikati can either convene the cabinet or be the one accused of twiddling his thumbs while Lebanon was crumbling.

Default-user-icon dddd (Guest) 09 December 2013, 10:16

If in Lebanon there is still some free and educated people they must Halt 'Oil Exploration' until all our system is changed starting with those mummies ruling us... we need format and fresh restart with our entire government and then we will explore... otherwise rulers will get richer and richer and the people will get poorer and poorer like in Saudi Arabia... they will use our money to dominate us! keep all our resources in the soil until we have a country and then Explore

Thumb mckinl 09 December 2013, 10:56

I wouldn't count on any change in political power in Lebanon for years dear friend. The oil file must proceed or the Israelis will steal billions of dollars worth.

At the vary least should Mikati convene the cabinet necessary decisions will be taken despite the obstruction of M14. Lebanon is falling apart socially, fiscally and physically. Action must commence ...

Missing peace 09 December 2013, 11:30

"The caretaker PM had been refusing to hold sessions, stressing that such a move was unconstitutional."

but now it will be constitutional? LOL

instead of applying the constitution, and form a government, our crook politicians prefer to step on it to satisfy their interests...

Thumb mckinl 09 December 2013, 11:36

The condition of convening the cabinet is the state of Lebanon. The cabinet must be convened in a state of emergency.

And the case that Lebanon is now facing an emergency as a state is overwhelming ... the country is collapsing socially and economically.

Missing peace 09 December 2013, 12:09

if there was such an emergency those crooks would have formed a government.... but it seems no one is in a hurry!

so till then all important decisions cannot be taken by a caretaker gvt, it is in the constitution!
but if the constitution has now become a piece of toilet paper then let them use it... meaning lebanon has ceased to exist....

Thumb mckinl 09 December 2013, 12:25

@ peace

Mikati is finally going to get political cover to convene the cabinet, That cover is coming from a business community that is desperate over the collapse of commerce.

While the politicos from M14 and M8 get their checks every month from their patrons businesses actually have to turn a profit to survive. Sales are collapsing.

Mikati has two choices 1) allow Lebanon to collapse 2) convene the cabinet to address critical issues before collapse. Without government action Lebanon is headed for destitution.

Missing watan-libnan 09 December 2013, 14:25

Does anyone agree with me in we not let these scum bags take one drop of oil out until we get rid of all these m14 m8 and all these other parties who are only self serving. And once we get a government that serves all lebanese regardless of where they live in lebanon regardless of what religion they are then the oil money will go to all lebanese.

Missing peace 09 December 2013, 21:14

lebanon has the politicians it deserves as long as people lower themselves to elect them and still live in their tribal mentality... look how fiercefully some here defend their idols and buy their propaganda... so the politicians still have prosperous days ahead of them!

Thumb lebanon_first 09 December 2013, 16:19

You forgot that Mikati (And Rifi) finished buying prime sea properties in Tripoli (which will be a capital of gas for Lebanon), so now their priority is to get some appreciation in value of Real estate.

Also a la jumby is my copyright, not mckinl... :)

Missing peace 09 December 2013, 16:41

LOL mustaqbal fighters? since when does moustaqbal have an army? it is not because you have one that all have one! on the contrary, M14 is fighting so that NO one is armed... but you hypocrits have to justify your anti lebanism by saying the others are worse than us! LOL