Lebanon.. Aoun and Mikati discuss the crisis of the Ministerial Council not convening
Yesterday, Wednesday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun discussed with Prime Minister Najib Mikati the existing contacts to address the failure of the Council of Ministers, and during the meeting, data was exchanged on Aoun’s visit to Qatar and the meetings he had with its Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
According to a statement by the Lebanese presidency, President Aoun received this morning at Baabda Mikati Palace and presented with him the latest developments and the return of the cabinet to session.
On October 12, last, the cabinet meeting was postponed, indefinitely, following the insistence of ministers affiliated with Hezbollah and the Amal movement to discuss the investigation file of the Beirut port explosion, in preparation for the removal of the judicial investigator in the file, Judge Tariq Al-Bitar, after he was accused By “politicizing”.
Since his claim against former Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his request to prosecute MPs, former ministers and security, observers fear that political pressure will lead to the dismissal of Bitar, similar to what happened with his predecessor Fadi Sawan, who was removed last February after his claim against Diab and 3 former ministers.
The Beirut Port explosion – on August 4, 2020 – killed at least 214 people and wounded more than 6,500 others, in addition to widespread destruction.
The authorities attributed the explosion to storing large amounts of “ammonium nitrate” without preventive measures.
Wait and reasons
During a ceremony to launch the registration for a social support project in the capital, Beirut, Mikati announced his delay in calling for a cabinet session, stressing the independence of the judiciary from political interference.
During the meeting, which was attended by the representative of the World Bank in the country, Saroj Kumar Gah, and foreign officials, Mikati stressed that his decision to wait comes in the hope that everyone will be convinced to distance the cabinet from everything that has nothing to do with it.
Mikati stressed the importance of the independence of the judiciary, pointing to everyone’s consensus on solving any problems in the judiciary in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and without any political interference.
He continued, “The work of the Council of Ministers has stopped, as a result of a constitutional legal dilemma related to the file of the explosion of the Port of Beirut, while government work continues at an escalating and intense pace.”
He stated that he sought and is still seeking to reach a solution that supports any step that leads to convergence of views.
Crisis and repercussions
More than two years ago, Lebanon was beset by a severe economic crisis, classified by the World Bank as one of the 3 worst economic crises in the world, which led to a financial and living collapse and a rise in poverty and unemployment rates.
The economic crisis that erupted in 2019 pushed more than 3 quarters of the population into poverty, and the local currency depreciated by more than 90%.
There has been no significant progress since the appointment of Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government last September, after more than a year of political stalemate that exacerbated the crisis.
During his visit to Doha 4 days ago, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that he would call on Qatar to implement multiple investments in his country, in an attempt to inject new liquidity that would be able to help the country rise again.
In statements to the Qatari newspaper, Al-Raya, Aoun added that his country needs Qatari investments in several sectors, such as electricity, infrastructure and the banking sector.