President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, stressed that he looks forward to the Parliamentary elections next spring, as a real opportunity for the Lebanese to express their options for change in order to develop the Lebanese system. The President also considered that administrative decentralization and the expanded mechanism constitute a basic entry point for modernizing and developing the Lebanese system and preserving the unity of Lebanon’s land, people and institutions.
Positions of President Aoun came while meeting the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly, Jean Louis Bourlanges, and members of the committee, in the presence of the French Ambassador to Lebanon, Anne Grillo.
President Aoun indicated that many events have accumulated and brought Lebanon to the difficult conditions it is currently experiencing, including external factors such as the war in Syria, the closure of border crossings, and the spread of the Corona pandemic, not to mention the corruption that has killed the administration and institutions, and wrong financial and economic policies that have plunged the country into a suffocating crisis.
Moreover, President Aoun informed the French delegation that he is determined, during the remainder of his term, to initiate the necessary reforms and complete the forensic audit process, noting that the government will begin next week to study the draft budget, and then the financial and economic recovery plan, in conjunction with the start of negotiations with the IMF.
In response to a question about Lebanon’s relations with Arab countries, President Aoun affirmed that Lebanon has always been and still is keen on the best relations with Arab and foreign countries, and will work to restore normal relations with the Gulf states.
The President also indicated that negotiations to demarcate the southern maritime borders will resume with the return of the US mediator, Amos Hochstein, to the region.
In addition, President Aoun commended the positions that support Lebanon politically, economically and humanitarianly, taken by French President Emmanuel Macron, and conveyed the head of the delegation and its members his greetings to President Macron and to the President of the French National Assembly.
At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Bourlanges confirmed that Lebanon is always present in the hearts and minds of the French, and they express sincere desires to help it overcome the economic, political and social difficulties it is going through, conveying the greetings of the French President and his solidarity with Lebanon and its people.
Bourlanges pointed out that the delegation’s visit to Beirut aims to emphasize the special relationship between Lebanon and France, and to note the role played by the President of the Republic to enable Lebanon to find the right path towards advancement and achieve balance, as well as to see the reality of the Lebanese situation, and to know how France and the French National Assembly can help to achieve what the Lebanese wish for, and from where the start of the necessary process of salvation begins, in order to preserve what distinguishes Lebanon, especially the unity between its sects.
Moreover, Mr. Bourlanges stressed that the reforms that the Lebanese government intends to adopt constitute an important step on the road to achieving recovery, and reiterated that he came with the delegation to help, and because Lebanon is in delicate circumstances, and France should be by its side for help.
The French delegation included members of the various parties and parliamentary blocs represented in the National Assembly, namely the deputies: Christian Hutin (Socialist), Bruno Joncour (Democratic Movement), Amelia Lakrafi and Valerie Thomas (Republic on the Move).