Cabinet Convenes after Six-Week Pause over Qabrshmoun Deadlock

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Lebanon’s cabinet met on Saturday at the Baabda Palace after a six-week suspension of its meetings over the deadly Qabrshmoun incidents.

President Michel Aoun chaired the meeting in the presence of the Premier and ministers to tackle 61 items that were initially listed on the July 2 agenda that was postponed because of the deadly incidents in the Aley town of Qabrshmoun.

Aoun and Premier Saad Hariri held a closed meeting before the session.

The National News Agency said Education Minister Akram Shehayyeb and Health Minister Abou Faour, of the Progressive Socialist Party, walked into the hall together. Asked whether Shehayyeb would shake hands with State Minister for Refugee Affairs Saleh al-Gharib (of the Lebanese Democratic Party), Shehayyeb said and smiled: “Good morning.”

The PSP and LDP were at loggerheads over said incident that left two guards of Gharib dead when his convoy was passing through Aley.

For his part, Gharib did not reply to the same question posed by reporters.

On Friday, Lebanon’s top leaders managed to secure a reconciliation between PSP leader Walid Jumblat and LDP chief Talal Arslan, ending weeks of political deadlock and tensions over the incident.

The meeting was chaired by President Michel Aoun and attended by Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

“A reconciliation has taken place,” Hariri confirmed on Friday..

Berri for his part described the reconciliation as an "achievement."

A Cabinet session was abruptly adjourned on July 2 in the wake of the incident and Hariri refrained from scheduling any session to avoid a possible clash in Cabinet.

Arslan had insisted that the case should be referred to the Judicial Council, a top court that looks into crimes against national security, a demand opposed by Jumblat and his allies.

The Military Court has recently started looking into the case, amid accusations by Jumblat and the PSP that ministers and judges close to Aoun and the Free Patriotic Movement were interfering to dictate the outcome of the probe.

SourceNaharnet