New Cabinet Holds Its First Session
The newly formed Lebanese cabinet held its first session today, Monday, at the Baabda Palace, headed by President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Najib Miqati.
Before the session, a protocol photo of the new government was taken in the presence of President Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and PM Miqati.
A closed-door meeting between Aoun, Miqati and Berri preceded the session, the National News Agency said.
The cabinet formed a ministerial committee headed by Miqati to draft the ministerial policy statement.
The committee includes the Deputy Prime Minister and the ministers of Justice, Energy, Finance, Culture, Interior, Administrative Reform , Information , Education, Public Works and Transport, and Agriculture.
Aoun said in a statement he hoped the committee tasked with drafting the statement would include the pursuit of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.
Talks with the IMF on financial assistance are key to rescuing Lebanon, which defaulted on its debt last year and has since been sliding into poverty.
The ministerial committee held its first session in the afternoon at the Grand Serail and a second meeting was scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday.
"We discussed the entire draft and made some observations," the new minister of information Georges Kordahi said
He added that the drafting of the ministerial statement is expected to be completed tomorrow.
The Minister of Public Works Mustafa Bayram -- one of two Hizbullah-appointed ministers -- said that the draft ministerial statement is "good" and that "the main concern is people's pain."
"We will come up with a new language to address people," Bayram added.