President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, expressed on Tuesday his hope that “the coming year will witness the beginning of correcting the painful situation which prevailed during the past two years and had a negative impact on citizens’ lives, livelihoods and their social and health stability”.
The President also pointed out that the causes which led to the Lebanese suffering from multiple economic, social, health and educational crises must be confronted, and the officials who caused this suffering must be held accountable. President Aoun asserted the need to put an end to the mistakes committed against the Lebanese people, which he referred to in yesterday’s speech to the Lebanese, and emphasized his determination to continue the struggle to correct these mistakes despite the obstacles which are placed in the way and the deliberate and systematic disruption of the constitutional and judicial institutions and administrations.
In addition, the President commended the work done by military and security institutions whose officers and soldiers work in difficult economic and financial conditions, and stressed the importance of maintaining Lebanon’s stability and territorial integrity and thwarting any attempt to harm this stability, promising to make every possible effort to provide them with the necessary support.
Moreover, the President focused on the need for departments to return to their regular work and to provide the appropriate atmosphere to enable employees to carry out their work by alleviating as much as possible the severity of the economic crisis in which they live, considering that this is achieved through constitutional institutions which are supposed to work regularly without any disruption.
Stances of the President came while meeting delegations of military and security apparatuses, the General Directorate of the Presidency of the Republic, and Republican Guard Brigade, who came to congratulate him on the advent of Christmas and New Year.
Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, delivered the following speech:
In the time of the glorious holidays, we reiterate what Pope Francis said in his Christmas message that “Lebanon is experiencing an unprecedented crisis and extremely worrying circumstances”.
The Pope also said: “On this feast day, we ask God to stir in everyone’s hearts a yearning for reconciliation and brotherhood”. This crisis has tired us all, but hope for a better tomorrow remains the incentive for us to carry out our missions, armed with our oath and the confidence of our people in us, waiting for the necessary political and economic solutions to be found to prevent the continued deterioration of the situation.
We ask God to give you the strength to face challenges, and for next year to bring all the best for you and our dear country, which deserves to enjoy safety and peace, and for his children to regain their confidence, after they lost it as a result of successive crises and forcibly left it. We are certain that they will inevitably return to its lands when they regain confidence in their homeland, because what unites the Lebanese with their homeland is a sacred and eternal bond.
Despite the economic crisis that has affected the military establishment, as well as the Lebanese people, harming the morale of the military is absolutely not allowed, for those whose motto was sacrifice, challenges will not prevail against them, and will not affect them.
The sons of the institution, who lived and coexisted with Lebanon’s crises and wars, will remain loyal to their country and will not let it down no matter how hard the circumstances are.
We hope that Pope Francis’ call for dialogue and reconciliation will be answered, for the good of our country and people”.
Then, General Security General Director, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, delivered the following speech:
“Your Excellency, President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun.
Three years ago, Lebanon witnessed holidays and the Lebanese were sad and facing general despair. The most dangerous thing is that our homeland, the homeland of the message and the model of coexistence, is required to be dropped in order to generalize the models of the racist state occupying Palestine, or to strike the concept of coexistence between civilizations and religions, because they want a world dominated by a clash of civilizations, the opposite of Lebanon.
We are all aware of the difficult and dangerous situation, and the depth of the crisis that threatens the entity more than ever. Therefore, we need unconventional and exceptional steps within the law and the constitution to save the homeland and rebuild the modern state that you have always called for.
You promised to devote the remainder of your presidential term to putting reform on its right track, and all the reformist Lebanese are waiting for the initiative, they know the sincerity of your intentions, and that it is not too late, and there is still an opportunity to give the Lebanese people a glimmer of hope for a better tomorrow in order to restore their confidence in a country afflicted by corruption and the absence of social justice and rational management, and transformed to a killer of dreams and a graveyard of ambitions.
We in the General Directorate of General Security are working with the best of our abilities to give our people service and safety, and we pledge before you to keep the promise and in full readiness, to prevent tampering with civil peace from achieving their goals, and to confront any internal or external danger and always under the roof of the law. We will also stand as an impenetrable barrier in the face of suspicious projects or reckless adventures, and we have all been stricken by the times of hateful wars.
We will move forward in carrying out our national tasks despite all the difficult circumstances:
We will not slacken in the face of the challenges which left their material and moral repercussions on the Directorate and its soldiers, who are still performing their missions to the fullest extent, and as we were able to secure the elements of continuity.
There will be no negligence or discretion in the application of the law, nor failing to carry out tasks or provide services.
Work continues with high morality despite the difficult economic conditions, which we have tried as much as possible to reduce their burdens.
Challenges are great. The task is difficult but not impossible. We know that despair and surrender are not in your dictionary, and that what is required is that the Lebanese have a homeland which they are keen on, and not a state they fear.
Finally, we wish your Excellency a Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you, Lebanon and the Lebanese people.
Long live Lebanon”.
Then, Internal Security Forces Director General, Major General Imad Othman, read the following speech:
“Your Excellency, President General Michel Aoun,
On the occasion of the glorious of Christmas, and the arrival of New Year, we express to Your Excellency and to the Lebanese, our blessed congratulations, hoping that the coming days will bring all the peace and tranquility. This year may be the most difficult year for us, because of the harsh conditions we are going through. While the Lebanese were celebrating the feast with their families, and believers performed their rituals in churches, our members were carrying out their tasks in maintaining security and order away from their families and loved ones.
Our institution, like all state institutions, was affected by the collapse which afflicted Lebanon, and this affected many of us. The general situation cannot be postponed in taking fair decisions for us, especially since some private sectors have begun to address their problems in one way or another, by settling the salaries of their employees in a manner proportional with the rise in the dollar exchange rate against the collapse of the value of the Lebanese currency. Security and military institutions secure all their requirements from the state budget, and carry out their tasks for the benefit of all society and public and private institutions, and this is their duty.
That is why our officers and men were the most affected in this regard, and despite our bad situation, we are still doing our full duty to fight crime and protect citizens and their property.
From here, we hope to find quick and effective solutions to confront this problem, by raising the value of the salaries of officers and members, in proportion to the dollar exchange rate, in addition to doubling the value of budgets allocated to social and medical matters and to the operational work of our institution.
May this year’s Christmas be a bridge that takes us to a new stage, in which safety and prosperity prevail over Lebanon and the Lebanese”.
Then, State Security Director General, Major General Tony Saliba, delivered the following speech:
We came today, to greet you on the occasion of the glorious Christmas, to tell your Excellency that Christ was born Hallelujah. It is the birth of hope after the good tidings of that angel who said, I came to bring you good tidings of great joy, and the birth of light after the brightness of regret in the shadows of the night of the shepherds, and the birth of warmth after the frost of the Virgin and Joseph, and before them all of humanity.
The Directorate of State Security is fully confident that Lebanon is eternal, and in your fatherly wisdom, the Lebanese people will turn the sorrow and pain they are going through, into a reason for rapprochement and harmony. Our ranks and military have never weakened and will never weaken, in the face of an injury, no matter how painful it is.
Your Excellency, the burden is heavy, but it is easy to carry for those who arm themselves with faith. Circumstances are fatal, but they will increase us in strength and resilience after we overcome them. The enemies of the homeland are many, but we are on the lookout for them around the clock. The more doubt spreads about the survival of the boat of the homeland; the more we will surely overcome the storm when you are the captain.
Everyone is invited for cooperation with faith. Whoever thought of us and sent his son for our salvation today, will not leave us before the Lebanese, under your leadership, reach what they seek, united together.
Long live Lebanon”.
President Aoun then accepted the congratulations of senior officials in the General Directorate of the Presidency of the Republic and the advisory team.
Former minister Salim Jreissati delivered the following speech:
“We extend from your Excellency our best congratulations on a year full of hope that begins with a sense of responsibility and with everyone’s participation in bearing it, because it can only be collective in order to save Lebanon, as it is not possible for a person, regardless of his strength and constitutional merit, to undertake difficult tasks to get rid of the heavy legacy that we inherited from the nineties until today alone.
Mr. President, you are making tremendous efforts, and we, as a close family, are at your side to assist you in this almost impossible task. We tell you that we are entrusted with this line and this approach, and to walk with you, and our destiny is your destiny, and we have only one destiny, which is to save Lebanon”.
The Director General of the Presidency of the Republic, Dr. Antoine Choucair, also delivered a speech in which he said:
“We all have heartbreak in our hearts because of the current situation, especially since it is the last Christmas in your presidential term. We will continue to walk according to the principles we learned from you: perseverance and not retreating from the truth. We are doing the impossible, as a working team, for your person, thought and career”.
President Aoun responded by thanking the family of the General Directorate of the Presidency of the Republic for the efforts made by the workers in its departments during the past years and for their sincerity and loyalty, calling on them to give more despite the difficult circumstances the country is going through.
Then, Republican Guard Brigade Chief, Brigadier General Bassam Helou, delivered the following speech:
First of all, I extend to you and your honorable family my best congratulations on the glorious Christmas and New Year, and I ask God to give you continued health and wellness and to provide you with the wisdom and patience with which you were known during your term.
We benefit from this occasion to pledge to you to keep pace with your path and go by your side despite all the difficult and delicate circumstances that we live in daily, especially the Corona pandemic and the economic situation. We will remain fully prepared to carry out the tasks entrusted to us in accordance with your directives, armed with confidence and security for your Excellency’s presence in the presidency and with hope for the establishment of our beloved homeland despite all adversities.
On the anniversary of the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ, a word of truth must be said that sums up your daily concern and eagerness to take care of the affairs of the country and people.
On my behalf and on behalf of all the officers, I once again extend my heartfelt congratulations to you, stressing that the adherence to your directives and loyalty to you, are driving our work in the Republican Guard Brigade.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”.
President Aoun responded by noting the efforts of the officers and soldiers of the Republican Guard Brigade and the role they play, similar to their military comrades.