Cabinet approves first licensing round of oil and gas exploration, declares joining EITI

The Cabinet approved on Wednesday during its session to re-launch the first licensing round of oil and gas exploration and agreed to join Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

The Cabinet convened on Wednesday morning at Baabda Palace, under the chairmanship of President of the Republic General Michel Aoun, and attended by Prime Minister Saad Hariri and ministers.

The Council of Ministers also agreed to secure funds for the implementation of required and needed technical and security works and equipment for the International Rafic Hariri Airport, and the opening of two centers for traffic management Body in Baalbek and Akkar.

At the beginning of the session, President Aoun informed the Cabinet on the positive outcome of his recent visits to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and dwelt on the visits undertaken by foreign and Arab delegations to Lebanon. The President pointed out to the international quest to achieve a lasting cease fire on the southern borders rather than halting hostilities.

Aoun also heaped praises on the qualitative operation by the army and security forces in foiling the attempt by the terrorist attacker to blow himself up at the Hamra’s Costa Cafe in the weekend, stressing the need for coordination amongst all security services and implement swift and effective security measures to prevent the recurrence of kidnapping incidents.

Premier Hariri, for his part, hailed the security forces’ qualitative accomplishment in thwarting the Costa Cafe attack, urging media outlets to play a positive role in consecrating security and stability in the country.

The PM also called for tightening judicial rulings and punishment against the perpetrators of kidnapping incidents, as “a guarantee for all.”

In the wake of today’s session, Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury read out Cabinet’s statement, saying that EITI constitutes a standard for the governance of oil, gas and mineral resources in the countries acceding to this initiative, whereby such a standard is implemented by governments in cooperation with civil society and the international companies excavating for oil.

He said that the government considers good governance of natural resources’ wealth should be an important catalyst for sustainable economic growth, and the proper and effective management of this wealth secures attaining positive economic and social upshots.

Source: National News Agency