Cabinet's session previously scheduled for tonight will be postponed officially due to the lack of important topics on the agenda of talks. But observers in the country attributed the last-minute call off to the Hariri-Jumblatt feud which might have caused tension among ministers during today's previously scheduled session.
Instead, President Elias Al-Hrawi will receive this afternoon Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri at the Presidential Palace in Baabda. The two leaders will hold a business meeting to discuss recent internal developments in the country. The draft public sector pay scales project, a number of security concerns and other issues are expected to be tackled during this meeting.
President Elias Al-Hrawi this morning held a one-hour meeting with Acting Finance Minister of State Fouad Sanyoura at Baabda. Sanyoura later told reporters at the palace he briefed the president on the atmosphere of discussions underway in parliament regarding the ratification of the public sector pay scales draft law. Sanyoura added the government is working along with the parliament to ensure the necessary funds for the project which, he said, will be paid at the beginning of next year. Sanyoura also stressed the government is trying to maintain a 42% budget deficit previously set by the government.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri last night reiterated his government is adamant to conclude the return of all the war displaced to their villages and homes. Hariri added his government's political decision to ensure their return is consistent and final. He also stressed the government will not give up the country's reconstruction process. Hariri was speaking in Saida during a graduation ceremony held at the Makassed Secondary School last night. The premier's words follow a weekend conference on the plight of the war displaced held in Beiteddine during which the Minister of War Displaced Walid Jumblatt accused the premier of holding back needed funds for the return process.
The premier met today former prime minister Rashid Al-Solh at government palace. Al-Solh later said he suggested to the premier that a street in the capital be named after French President Jacques Chirac. He also suggested another avenue be named as "June 25" denoting the date of the return of a number of Lebanese martyrs to their homeland as part of the recent swap operation with Israel.
Hariri later received deputies Tammam Salam, Hussein Yateem, Joubran Tawk and Marwan Fares. He also held a meeting with the heads of the participant delegations in the 8th meeting for the executive committee of the Scouts Union for Arab Parliamentarians. The head of the delegation Adnan Traboulsi called on the government to support youth and scouts organizations in the country.
The premier also held talks today with the British ambassador to Lebanon David MacLenin who later told reporters at government palace he discussed with the premier the outcome of his talks in Washington and New York during his recent US visit. The British ambassador also praised the success of the Lebanese government during the recent swap operation with Israel.
Minister of Electricity and Water Resources Elie Hobeika today held a press conference to discuss the situation of the electricity sector in the country. He also tackled the electricity failure in the Zouk station.
Hobeika revealed some causes responsible for the increased electricity cuts in a number of areas saying an electricity providing network was not done yet. The network was due to have been constructed at the beginning of this year adding the delay was caused by administrative routine and lack of funds. He also shifted responsibility from his ministry and the electricity company to those administrations charged with signing contracts and following their execution. He concluded the electricity situation will improve in a period of 10-15 days.
The International Red Cross Committee will organize starting tomorrow family visits to Lebanese detainees in the Israeli-run Khiam Detention Camp. An ICRC convoy is expected to visit Khiam tomorrow carrying a number of families. They will move from the Red Cross headquarters in Nabatieh though the Kfar Tibnit Border Crossing. This will be the first visit by families of detainees since the recent swap operation with Israel which was carried out on June 25-26. Family visits were prohibited since the failed Israeli commando operation on the village of Ansariyeh on September, 5 of last year.
On the eve of the Arab Scouts Conference which will be held under the patronage of Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri, the Union of Lebanese Scouts today organized a press tour in the scouts city of Smar, Jbeil after it underwent rehabilitation. Education Minister John Obeid participated in the tour which aimed at inspecting rehabilitation work in the city carried out over a period of three weeks. Around 700 workers were involved in the project which was executed by Dar Al-Handasa and supervised by the Lebanese Council for Development and Reconstruction.
The city will host the 23rd Arab Scouts Camp which will include more than 1500 scouts coming from 19 Arab states. The Camp held during a period of ten days (July 10-20) will be organized by the Union of Lebanese Scouts in collaboration with the Arab Scouts Organization.
Lebanon's National Museum will undergo a second stage of rehabilitation which is expected to extend between mid July and December. So, for all tourists who hoped to visit such a fascinating site this summer, this might be bad news. First Lady Mona Al-Hrawi yesterday said rehabilitation work was necessary to help raise the museum to international standards. Some improvements in the second stage include equipping a hall with audio-visual equipment to present documentaries on the country's history, alarm systems, glass lifts, and special lifts for the disabled.
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