Lebanon's Parliament begins discussing government's policy

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, right, meets with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, at the government palace, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. Zarif extended an offer for Iranian military assistance to the U.S.-backed Lebanese army on Sunday, saying Iran is ready to assist in all sectors should the Lebanese government want it. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

BEIRUT - Members of Lebanon's Parliament have begun discussing the new government's policy statement, which focuses on improving the country's economic conditions.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri began the meeting Tuesday by reading the statement, which calls for reforms in state finances, the economy and the crumbling electricity sector, which costs state coffers about $2 billion a year.

The statement also said that Lebanese citizens have the right to "resist Israeli occupation and repel its aggression." This was in reference to the right of the militant Hezbollah group to keep its weapons.

The new Cabinet was announced late last month, breaking a nine-month deadlock that had deepened Lebanon's economic woes.


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