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Lebanon Overpasses Tests of Taxes, Repercussions of Bassil-Moallem Meeting | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cabinet met at the Grand Serail on Friday/NNA

Beirut- The Lebanese government overpassed on Friday the test of a tax law and the repercussions of a meeting held last week in New York between its Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and his Syrian counterpart Walid Moallem.

On Friday, the cabinet convened at the Grand Serail in Beirut and adopted a new tax law to finance the salary scale.

However, in order to avoid disturbing the government alliance, ministers at the Cabinet failed to address disputes related to a meeting held between the foreign ministers of Lebanon and the Syrian regime in New York.

By adopting the new tax law, the government ended the civil servants strike that started early this week across the country.

After a decision of the Constitutional Council to overturn a tax law, the Lebanese Cabinet faced a deadlock in providing resources to fund a salary scale for public employees, who were angry from the possibility of not receiving their financial rights.

The Union Coordination Committee (UCC) called for a general strike Monday in all public administrations, schools, and municipalities to put pressure on the government to pay public employees according to the new salary scale.

“We reached today an expedited draft law that includes the necessary tax adjustments. We will send it to Parliament for approval as soon as possible,” Prime Minister Saad Hariri said following the session.

He added that the “political consensus that continues and on which we are keen, the President of the Republic, all the parties in the government and I, has produced this solution, which some thought would be complicated, but in the end, we reached it.”

And while the prime minister did not deny the presence of a political dispute concerning communications with the Syrian regime, Minister of State for Refugee Affairs Mouin Merhebi told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday that the issue was not discussed by the Cabinet in its last two meetings held this week.

“The repercussions of the (Bassil-Moallem) meeting were not tackled,” he said, warning that the current state linked to communications held with Damascus aside from the government’s approval “cannot continue.”

Meanwhile, the US sanctions passed on Thursday against Hezbollah reflected worries in the ranks of the party, which placed the new US bills in the framework of “intimidating all Lebanese.”