Government approves plan for donors despite controversy
Beirut (AsiaNews) – A five-year plan for economic and social reform has been approved by the Lebanese government in view of the upcoming meeting of “donor countries” – above all western and Arab – that will meet on 25 January to decide about what economic support to offer for the renewal of the Country of the Cedars. The executive has also decided to go ahead with a privatization programme – starting with telephone systems – and to give an extra month's salary to members of the security forces as a bonus for their additional efforts over the past month.
The government decision to draw up a plan to submit to the so-called Paris III conference – taken despite the refusal of the President of the Republic, Emile Lahoud, to accept the legitimacy of the executive – was motivated by the urgent need to prepare for that meeting. Already next week, the economic ministers and the governor of the Bank of Lebanon will go to
The government asked Nasrallah to accept a “balanced and simultaneous” political agreement on the basis of the “neither victorious nor defeated” principle that guided the mediation attempt of the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, which was suspended before the festive season. Last night, Siniora talked to Moussa whose meditation bid should, according to government sources, resume by 10 January, always if “positive signals” are forthcoming from the opposition.
On another front, President Lahoud has slammed the decisions taken by the government as “non-existent” and reiterated his decision not to sign decrees issued by the cabinet after the resignation of the six ministers – five Shiites and one who refers to Lahoud himself – on 11 November.