Lebanon extends budget discussions amid ongoing protests | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

21 May, Tuesday


Lebanon extends budget discussions amid ongoing protests

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The Lebanese government is set to continue on Tuesday discussions on the draft budget after hearing a briefing from Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil on the spending cuts that have been approved so far.

During Monday’s session, which the cabinet had hoped would be the last on the draft budget, the government approved a reduction of the state’s contribution to some NGOs and social service organizations of up to 15 percent. 

“The cabinet was very careful not to reduce the contributions to vital associations and bodies that are fundamental for the lives of citizens,” Information Minister Jamal Jarrah told reporters after the session.

The session came as retired Lebanese soldiers blockaded the central bank in Beirut’s Hamra thoroughfare to warn the government against curbing their benefits in an escalation of protests against plans to cut state spending. 

Retired soldiers held similar protests outside regional offices of the central bank in the cities of Tripoli and Tyre.

Sit-ins also took place in Baalbeck and Jounieh.

The veterans suspended their protests only after meeting with Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab.

The minister urged retirees not to burn tires, block roads, and blockade public institutions.

He also called on the veterans to resort to peaceful means to preserve their image and show respect to citizens.

Asharq Al-Awsat

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