SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 23 September 2021, Thursday |

Aoun at the virtual Conference held in support of the people of Lebanon: Lebanon counts on you, don’t let it down

In his delivered speech at the virtual conference held in support of the people of Lebanon on Wednesday, President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, said:

Your Majesties, your Highnesses, your Excellencies,

A year has gone by since the calamity struck the heart of Beirut, and it is still a bleeding wound in the conscience of all the Lebanese; the quest for truth and full justice is still the claim of every Lebanese and a self-evident right, especially for those who were inflicted loss at heart, the parents of the victims who fell on that fateful day.

I have already committed before the Lebanese to serve justice and hold accountable everyone whose involvement is proven by the investigation. Today, I re-state my pledge that NO one is above the law, no matter how high he may rank.

Let justice go all the way in probe and trials, till facts are revealed and till the desired justice is served.

Ladies and gentlemen,

A year after the disaster of the fourth of August 2020,the devastating repercussions still reflect on all levels, humanitarian, social, economic, health and educational, thus aggravating the crises that beset our nation.

Lebanon is currently going through the hardest times: a record poverty rate, the Covid-19 pandemic, a severe shortage of drugs, along with the heavy burden of the Syrian displacement, the siege imposed around us, depriving Lebanon of its vital extension, and so on. Therefore, Lebanon can no longer wait for regional or broader solutions.

There is no doubt that Lebanon needs every assistance and support from the international community, after determining needs and priorities, notably:

– Badly needed humanitarian, social and health assistance;

– assistance that guarantees the continuous provision of the vital basic services in emergency settings, especially in the health sector and in the maintenance of water and electricity infrastructures;

– assistance that ensures the needs of our security valve, the Lebanese Army and security forces.

Furthermore, rehabilitating, developing and fully re-operating the port of Beirut – the artery of the Lebanese economy – is a pressing necessity and a top priority for us, and any international effort is welcome in this respect.

Ladies and gentlemen,

For many months, the country has drowned in a political crisis in which, unfortunately, the details of cabinet formation prevailed over the program, the government’s rescue project.

Today, we are in a new phase. I do hope that a government is formed, a government which is capable of implementing the required reforms, preparing for the upcoming parliamentary elections and, in parallel, building confidence with our International partners and reaching out to the international Monetary Fund. We must underscore in this context that the amount that will benefit Lebanon next September from the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights must be employed carefully and in the best way to face the collapse and embark on reforms.

I strongly believe that the procedures of the forensic audit of public accounts are necessary and mandatory. I have promised the Lebanese to carry on with themdespite all obstacles. We hold on to the forensic audit of the Central Bank’s accounts, and we await its outcome to determine and allocate losses and responsibilities.

Esteemed audience,

In my own name and on behalf of the people of Lebanon, I wish to thank brotherly and friendly States and institutions for their solidarity, and for the aid they have sent throughout the past year. And today, I would like to renew my thanks to the organizers who – by asignificant gesture – wanted this conference to mark the first anniversary of the tragic Port blast. My thanks also go to my friend President Macron, to the UN Secretary General Mr. Guterres, and to all the heads of States, leaders and officials who are present with us, as well as all those who have supported Lebanon through its present crisis.

Lebanon counts on you, don’t let it down.

Thank you.