BEIRUT — Hezbollah and their allies the Amal Movement on Saturday evening announced they were ending their boycott of the cabinet, paving the way for the government to meet again for the first time in over three months after a deadlock over the probe into the 2020 Beirut port explosion.
Here’s what we know:
• In a joint statement, broadcast by Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV, the two parties said they had given their approval for their affiliated ministers to attend cabinet sessions regarding the 2022 budget and economic recovery plan.
• Hezbollah and Amal said they agreed for ministers to “attend cabinet sessions to discuss everything related to improving the living conditions of the Lebanese.”
• “The only way to solve the crises and alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese is the presence of a strong, capable and trusted government,” the statement added.
• The announcement comes after the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, an ally of Hezbollah, said his party would seek a vote of no-confidence in the Parliament for Premier Najib Mikati’s cabinet, which last met on Oct. 12.
• On Jan. 5, Mikati said that “the general budget for 2022 is ready and will be received within the next two days, and as soon as it is received, the Council of Ministers will be invited to convene.”
• In a press statement Saturday night, Mikati welcomed the announcement by Hezbollah and Amal, adding that he would convene the cabinet once the 2022 draft budget was submitted to it by the Finance Ministry.
• Hezbollah and the Amal Movement had previously voiced their opposition to convening the cabinet until Judge Tarek Bitar was removed from the 2020 Beirut explosion investigation. The two parties accuse the judge, who has charged two ex-ministers from Amal, of being politicized.
• In their statement Saturday, the two parties said they would “continue to work to correct the judicial process,” a reference to the Beirut port probe, in order to “prevent injustice and persecution.”