Hariri heads a Cabinet session at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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The Cabinet averted a major political crisis Wednesday when it disassociated itself from a controversial visit by two ministers to Syria next week.Ministerial sources had told The Daily Star Tuesday that Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan, from Hezbollah, and Agriculture Minister Ghazi Zeaiter, from Amal, visit to Damascus were not coordinated with Prime Minister Saad Hariri in order to avoid a major split within the Cabinet. While LBCI quoted Minister of State for Women's Affairs Jean Ogasapian stressing the Future Movement's opposition to the visit by the Hezbollah and Amal Movement ministers.Direct contact with the Syrian regime is still a highly contensious issue in Lebanon with Hezbollah and its allies pushing for normalizing ties with President Bashar Assad's regime while the Future Movement and the Lebanese Forces say such dealings are not possible until a political solution end the Syrian war.A few minutes into the meeting Education Minister Marwan Hamadeh stormed out of Cabinet, protesting what he described as infringements to the Cabinet's prerogatives.Hamadeh was protesting President Michel Aoun's and Hariri's failure to sign a decree, approved by the Cabinet, to fund the Education Ministry, the PSP statement added.
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