President Michel Aoun, affirmed that several factors, including what are external and some which are internal, have combined to produce the worst economic, financial and social crisis that struck Lebanon. The President explained that since the beginning of this era, the economic and financial situation constituted the greatest concern.
“I exerted great efforts for economic remedies, but these efforts did not bring all the expected results because the situation was bad and the obstacles were many. The increasing economic pressure has led to the people taking to the street with true living demands and an overarching demand for all Lebanese, which is fighting corruption” President Aoun said.
The President considered, in a speech before members of the diplomatic corps and directors of international organizations, today at Baabda Palace, who came to congratulate him on the occasion of holidays in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gebran Bassil, and the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Hani Shmaitli, that “Demonstrations, especially in the beginning, constituted a real opportunity to achieve reform and what is desired is that it has shaken sectarian and political reserves and cut the red lines and accountability is possible. However, attempts to exploit some political forces for popular movements led to the dispersion of some of them and drowning them in radical rejection, as well as the pattern of rumors adopted by some media and demonstrators.
“Some of the movement has been distorted from correctly identifying the places of true corruption and its makers, and I still count on good Lebanese in the streets and homes to fight corruption. While the army and security forces worked to secure the right to demonstrate and the safety of the demonstrators. This has led to a high crime rate of all kinds after we have made remarkable progress in reducing it in the past two years” President Aoun added.
The President of the Republic also stressed that the birth of the Government “Was expected during the past week, but some obstacles prevented this. Although we do not have the luxury of delay, the formation of this Government requires the selection of worthy people who deserve the trust of the people and the Parliament, which required some time. We will continue to exert every effort to reach the promised Government, providing the supreme national interest over any other consideration”.
President Aoun spoke about the burdens of the issue of the Syrian displacement and its negative consequences on the Lebanese society, stressing that “There are positive indicators which we expect in the coming days with the beginning of Lebanon’s exploration activities for its natural resources in its regional waters, and here we reaffirm our commitment to our right to invest all our fields Oil, and we reject any Israeli attempt to attack it, and our emphasis on the need to stabilize land borders and delineate sea borders”.
President Aoun affirmed that, “We confirm adherence to resolution 1701, international resolutions and international legitimacy based on justice and the right to secure the restoration of our rights and land and prevent resettlement in Lebanon, as well as our adherence to the principle of neutralizing Lebanon from regional conflicts and keeping it away from axes to keep fire away from the country without compromising the strength of Lebanon and its right to resist and establish a defense strategy. This opportunity promotes understanding among all Lebanese”.
The President expressed confidence that the centenary of the declaration of “Greater Lebanon” would constitute a good opportunity, among all the factors of anxiety, to rediscover Lebanon’s role and status, and to renew commitment by all Lebanese to the challenge of building a homeland befitting man and his dignity.
From his part, the dean of the diplomatic corps, papal ambassador, Monsignor Joseph Spiteri, stressed the importance of dialogue and its characteristics, which respect the other and his opinion, and do not exclude any opponent, loyalist, or those who are unwilling to take any party. Spitry stressed that “The scourge of corruption, which has always been denounced by your Excellency, impedes the work of the state in serving all its citizens effectively”.
Spitry said that, “Dialogue is impossible if we do not consider each other as equal. This fundamental intuition lies in the depth of your Excellency’s initiative in establishing the Human Academy for Meeting and Dialogue, which was approved by the UN General Assembly on September 16, 2019. We hope your Excellency accepts our sincere congratulations, and our best wishes for implementation at the service of human fraternity in Lebanon and in the whole world”.
The Papal Ambassador, noted that “The international community, represented here by heads of diplomatic missions and officials of international organizations, continues to stress the necessity of an honest and respectful dialogue between political leaders themselves, as well as between them and those who demand real change. And I hope that this dialogue will lead to a rapid formation of a Government which can be written for life, so that urgent and necessary reforms are put in place and put into effect, and that confidence is restored to all Lebanese and to all of Lebanon’s friends”.
The ceremony started with the arrival of Ambassadors, led by Monsignor Spitry to the Presidential Palace, on the impact of army music, for the occasion. After the attendance was completed, the Ambassadors moved to the November 22nd Hall, where President Aoun shook hands with them as they offered him congratulations on behalf of their heads of state.