The main bones of contention had been the compensation due to Cellis and Libancell and the fines the government claimed they owed for contract violations. On 29 November the cabinet approved a new transfer agreement, which suspended the $600 million fine demand and offered $178 million in compensation.
Under the plan, criticised by some in parliament as being too generous, Cellis, a subsidiary of France Telecom, would receive $118.6 million and Libancell $60.5 million. However, the operators refused to sign the deal, presented to them by Telecoms Minister Jean-Louis Cordahi on 4 December, and demanded amendments.
The main point of disagreement was the clause dealing with international arbitration over fines, with the companies demanding changes to the location and timing of negotiations. Cordahi initially refused any further compromise, but then on 11 December agreed to change the location to Stockholm. However, he refused to set a deadline for negotiations. Beirut intends to sell off the two GSM networks as part of its privatisation programme.