Lebanon cabinet set to map maritime borders
The Cabinet is set to convene Wednesday at the Grand Serail with 52 items on its agenda, the most anticipated of which is a recommendation that would help establish Lebanon’s official maritime borders.
A report prepared by the maritime demarcation committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends that the Cabinet establish a team to propose a new Exclusive Economic Zone for Lebanon in order bypass current boundary disputes and move ahead with oil and gas exploration in the country’s waters.
Also on the agenda are administrative proposals and 16 financial items, including a request to increase the government’s contribution to the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit. The Cabinet is expected to vote on Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi’s request for additional funds for his ministry which would be passed on to the ICIEC.
Another item on the agenda requests approval from the Council for Development and Reconstruction of a $630,000 grant from the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development.The grant would fund consultations for a study on the construction of new power stations that would generate an additional 1,500 Megawatts of electricity.
The CDR will also request to solicit an engineering study on the replacement for the Jal al-Dib bridge, which was dismantled in April after it was deemed unsafe. The government will also hear a request to grant tax exemptions for 15 new cars imported for the Kuwaiti Embassy.
As for administrative proposals, item 17 requests a number of appointments in consulates and embassies abroad and asks for a $10 million budget for expatriate voting in national elections.
Other administrative appointments include vacancies at the Social Affairs Ministry, including item 19, which would appoint government representatives to the council of the state-run housing bank.
The Cabinet is expected to review a set of construction proposals for government buildings throughout the country, all of which would be built on state land.
Another item will tackle organizing sport and scout activity in the country.
The Economy and Trade Ministry will request that the government lift the ban on the British vessel, CPO France.
A number of agenda items focus on foreign funds donated to Lebanese ministries including a request by the Social Affairs Ministry to receive approval for a $700,000 grant from Sweden to aid Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
The remaining items are requests by ministries for funds and permission for travel abroad, including an Education Ministry proposal that would allow the Lebanese University to take part in several international conferences.
The Defense Ministry will ask the Cabinet to allow the Army to visit the United Kingdom, and the Justice Ministry will ask to take part in a conference on administrative courts in the United Arab Emirates.
Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour will ask permission to attend the Paralympics in London, and the Sports and Youth Ministry will put in a request to take part in a joint-European conference on youth in Russia in September.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry will ask for approval to participate in Arab League ministerial meetings in Cairo.