Cellis hits back at termination notice

Cellis has attacked last week's termination notice of its GSM contract in Lebanon. The operator called the termination anything but "amicable" and may challenge it in court.

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By  Rob Corder Published  June 18, 2001

The acrimonious divorce between the Lebanese government and the country’s mobile phone operators (see Lebanese government fires mobile operators) may have to be settled in court.

Cellis denounced the premature termination of its contract Thursday, complaining that the government’s decision breached the terms of the deal and was anything but “amicable.”

The use of the word “amicable” in the termination notice by the Higher Privatisation Council was more than just PR gloss. It could become a central plank in any argument Cellis or Libancell may use if they contest the termination.

In clause e/22/1 of the build-operate-transfer contract, the government is given the power to end the contract “amicably.” With Cellis already publicly attacking the termination announcement, the matter may have to be settled by the courts, and that could take years, according to Lebanese legal experts.

If the original termination goes ahead, the Lebanese government will have an opportunity to auction new mobile licenses before the end of the year. The cash injection this would deliver could not come at a better time for the government as it attempts to reign in over $24 billion of public debt.

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