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Cabinet winds up session with Sleiman adamant to empower civil marriage [National News Agency (Lebanon)]
[January 29, 2013]

Cabinet winds up session with Sleiman adamant to empower civil marriage [National News Agency (Lebanon)]

(National News Agency (Lebanon) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NNA - Fresh up-and-coming views on whether to adopt civil marriage in Lebanon featured high in a session for the Cabinet on Tuesday, with the President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, stressing that personal status law is a mainstay to national unity.

Ministers convened today at the Baabda presidential palace, under Sleiman's chairmanship, to look into a 50-item agenda.

Reading out the cabinet decisions, Minister of Information, Walid Daouk, said the President began the session by giving lowdown on his recent visit in Moscow, explaining that it was an occasion to enhance the two-pronged agreements inked between Lebanon and Russia.

In Moscow, the President also broached the issue of Syrians displaced into Lebanon to flee the 22-month-old war in their country, stressing the necessity to assist Lebanon in harboring them.

This issue will be discussed in Kuwait tomorrow during a conference for the donor states.

On civil marriage, Sleiman went down in the annals of history, raking up former President Elias Hrawi's initiative in 1998, as young Lebanese couples resort to foreign countries to conclude their marital contract.

Sleiman said it was necessary to follow up on the aspirations of youth to meet the requirements of the civil society.

He maintained that abstaining from boarding this issue within the constitutional institutions and from approving such a dossier contravened the spirit of Taif Accord.

An unprecedented step by a Lebanese couple, Nidal and Khouloud, who concluded a civil marriage contract in Lebanon, sparked a spate of calls for adopting a civil personal status code, but also a rabid rejection by other authorities.

Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, even dubbed supporters as apostates of Islam.

In turn, Prime Minister Najib Mikati voiced utter rejection for the civil formula.

"The issue of freedoms lines with the democratic system and the Constitution (...) as well as with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Lebanon joined in 1972," the President said.

"I believe that it's our obligation to discuss the issue of civil marriage and forward the draft approved by the cabinet in 1998 before the ministers of interior and justice to review it," he maintained.

Sleiman hence asked both Ministers Shakib Qortbawi and Marwan Charbel to validate whether Nidal and Khouloud's contract was legal or not.

Moreover, Sleiman tackled the formation of an independent body to oversee the elections, asking for a legal advice on the deadline to appoint the committee and empower it.

Daouk pointed out that the cabinet decided to task the Telecom Minister with signing a contract hereby purchasing a part of the capacity of Alexandros maritime cable between Cyprus, Egypt and France, the installation of a sea cable between Lebanon and Cyprus, the extension of the two mobile operators in Lebanon to a period of one month, and assigning the ministerial committee on the Lebanese pilgrims abducted in Syria to coordinate with the French authorities concerned with the affair of George Ibrahim Abdallah.


  (c) 2012 NNA LEBANON Provided by an company

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