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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Hezbollah, Amal end boycott of cabinet sessions


File photo shows supporters waving the flags of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement and Amal group.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement and Amal group announce ending a three-month boycott of the country’s cabinet sessions.

The groups, which together back several ministers from various portfolios, made the announcement on Saturday.

They said the decision was driven by their desire to join consultations over the 2022 budget and the country’s ongoing economic recovery.

Since late 2019, Lebanon has been mired in a deep financial crisis that has caused the Lebanese pound to lose around 90 percent of its value to the dollar and led its banking system to collapse.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in a statement he welcomed the decision to end the boycott and would call for a cabinet meeting as soon as he received a draft budget from the Finance Ministry.

Hezbollah and Amal initiated the boycott as a form of protest against the handling of an investigation into the huge Beirut port blast in 2020.

The groups have sought the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar, who has been overseeing the investigation, denouncing his “politicization” of the probe.

Last year, Sheikh Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s deputy secretary-general, said Bitar “tends to pin the blame on others. He is not reliable anymore,” adding, “families of the victims have grown very suspicious of his behavior.”

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