Prime Minister Saad Hariri Tuesday chaired the second meeting of the ministerial committee tasked with drafting the new Cabinet’s policy statement.
According to reports in local media, the 10 ministers on the committee, which was formed over the weekend, will discuss the possibility of reviving an initiative announced by Russia in July to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their home country and include this in the policy statement.
Just before the committee’s session, Hariri met with Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin, according to a statement from Hariri’s office.
“We … stressed the need to continue to work in the framework of the Russian-Lebanese Joint Committee” that was formed to carry out the Russian initiative, Zasypkin was quoted as saying.
Ministers will also discuss the possibility of including a section in the policy statement that expands the responsibilities of the minister of state for refugee affairs, Minister of State for Presidency Affairs Salim Jreissati told LBCI news channel before the session.
The Cabinet’s policy statement is expected to highlight several main issues: Hezbollah’s weapons arsenal, relations with Syria amid demands by Hezbollah and its allies to normalize ties with the Syrian regime, the future of more than 1 million Syrian refugees and reforms demanded by the CEDRE conference to bolster the country’s struggling economy.
Once the ministerial committee drafts the policy statement, Parliament will hold a vote of confidence on the government based on the document.