Hariri meets with World Bank, FAO directors and Egyptian Ambassador

Prime Minister Saad Hariri received today at the “Center House” the World Bank director for Middle East Ferid Belhaj, in the presence of his advisor Mazen Hanna. They discussed the projects of the World Bank in Lebanon.

Hariri also met with Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Dr. Jose Graziano da Silva, in the presence of Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb and the accompanying delegation. They discussed the organization’s activities in Lebanon and the region.

Hariri received the Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon Nazih Naggari, who said: “I met with Premier Hariri and thanked him for his strong stance concerning the painful attack against Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo. I also thanked him for his permanent support for our country.”

He added: “He also informed me about the developments regarding the formation of the government. I am optimistic and I hope that the government will be announced soon so that Lebanon can move forward and so we can activate our cooperation in all fields within the framework of the relations between the two governments in the coming months”.

Hariri then received a delegation from the Change and Reform bloc that included MPs Ibrahim Kanaan, Alain Aoun, Ziad Aswad, Nehmatallah Abi Nasr and Ghassan Moukheiber, in the presence of Dr. Ghattas Khoury.

After the meeting, MP Kanaan said: “We had the honor to visit Prime Minister Hariri. This visit is part of a tour undertaken by the bloc of all parliamentary blocs, concerning the electoral law and the need to approve it and put it on the list of concerns of the constitutional institutions, starting with the Parliament and all blocs.”

He added: “This meeting was very useful. We sensed from Prime Minister Hariri a will to cooperate in this matter. We agreed to form a small group from all the blocks to work seriously, away from the media, during the coming days, to reach a common formula among the proposals that exist today in Parliament. It is not necessary to wait for the formation of the government, knowing that we wish for its formation as soon as possible, and there are indications in this direction, but our work is separate. We have been working on the law for years and should not try, a few months before the parliamentary elections, to meet in parliament or not. Our agreement, our Constitution and our system do not just allow us, but require us to complete this task. Therefore, we agreed to cooperate and found that the reforms discussed in the subcommittee are very important, and maybe as important as the division of districts. These reforms are related to the vote bulletin, the body that oversees the elections, women quota, all of which provide greater transparency, and a real effective democracy for the electoral process. On these bases, the meeting ended, we will have further meetings away from the media, within days, not weeks. We will keep you informed on the outcome of our work between the various blocs.”

Question: Any indications of the formation of the government soon?

Kanaan: I do not want to talk about the government, first because I am at the Prime Minister-designate’s residence, and we did not talk about this subject. There is a certain positivity although there are some reservations about some issues, and we hope to overcome all these obstacles soon. All Lebanese want a government and so do we, but within the respect of the constitutional powers of the president or the Prime Minister-designate. These things are very important, since the beginning of the term indicates how it will carry on and end. So I think that today there are positive events, but they are placed within constitutional framework, and within the democratic sizes, whether on the popular or parliament levels.

Question: Do we have enough time to complete the parliamentary elections on time?

Kanaan: Why not, we are still within the deadline. We made this initiative, especially after the election of President of the Republic, who embodied by his election many hopes and aspirations of the Lebanese. If we were able to accomplish the hardest thing, we will be able to accomplish the easiest one, which is the election law.

Question: There will be no technical postponement of the elections?

Kanaan: We want the elections to take place on time. We are working to reach an election law at the earliest opportunity to hold the elections on time. So far, our tour is encouraging. When we get into details, away from the media, and within the framework of the group that I talked about, the picture will be clearer.

Question: Are we going towards a proportional law?

Kanaan: We have to ask one of the astrologers. We are open as Change and Reform bloc to any formula that guaranties a real national partnership, respects our Constitution and provides real parity. We have our proposals, but we are open to any proposal that provides this partnership and that parity.

Source: National News Agency