| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

President Aoun meets French delegation, follows up on details of sinking Lebanese boat off Arwad

President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, expressed his satisfaction with the tripartite statement issued yesterday by France, the United States of America and Saudi Arabia regarding the situation in Lebanon.

President Aoun asserted the need to elect a new President of the Republic within the constitutional deadline and to form a new government that will gain the confidence of the Parliament before the presidential term ends next October 31.

The President also reiterated the necessity of implementing the reforms agreed upon with the International Monetary Fund, and removing all obstacles that prevent this issue.

The President’s positions came while meeting the head of the region of southern France, Provence, the Alpes and the Côte d’Azur, and former Minister Renaud Muselier at the head of a delegation from the region, in the presence of the French Ambassador to Lebanon, Mrs. Anne Grillo, and the head of the Lebanese-French Parliamentary Friendship Committee, MP Simon Abi Ramia.

The delegation included Messrs. Jean-Pierre Colin, Frédéric Lofaro, Sébastien Viano, Bernard Valero and a number of administrative officials in the region.

At the beginning, Mr. Mussolier expressed his happiness at his presence in Lebanon, describing his visit and the accompanying delegation as “A visit of brotherhood and solidarity” to emphasize the strong relations between the two countries and peoples that have taken root more throughout history.

Mussolier also conveyed to President Aoun the greetings of French President Emmanuel Macron and his affirmation of his support for Lebanon and the Lebanese and his work to achieve all that is good for “This dear country to the hearts of the French”.

Then, Mr. Mussolier presented the role played by the region of southern France, Provence, the Alpes and the Cote d’Azur, in helping Lebanon and contributing to the development of economic life in it.

Afterwards, a dialogue took place between President Aoun and members of the delegation.

The President had discussed the difficult conditions that Lebanon went through during the past six years of his reign, and the repercussions it left, including the Syrian war, the closure of the borders and the influx of large waves of displaced Syrians, leading to the events of October 17, 2019, the outbreak of the “Corona” pandemic, then the explosion of the port of Beirut, and the severe economic and financial crisis that the country is going through, which made the poverty rate rise to 75% of the Lebanese people.

“Perhaps the most difficult thing that Lebanon faced was emptying the financial funds and the state treasury of money, and some of that took place in ambiguous circumstances. We worked to assign an international company to audit it and we are waiting for the results of this audit” President Aoun said.

On the other hand, President Aoun addressed the government crisis that the country is going through, pointing out that he is working to remove the political obstacles placed before the formation of the government.

Moreover, the President emphasized the importance of having a full-fledged government that has the confidence of the Parliament to be able to assume the responsibility of exercising the powers of the President of the Republic in the event that the president is not elected, pointing to the need to preserve the national balance in all the expected constitutional deadlines.

In response to a question, the President renewed Lebanon’s commitment to implement what was agreed upon with the International Monetary Fund, noting that the budget law for the year 2022 is awaiting approval in the Parliament, to which the law amending the banking secrecy law was returned to become more in line with international standards.

On the indirect negotiations to demarcate the southern maritime borders, President Aoun stated that progress has been made in this field, expressing his hope to reach an agreement that would enable Lebanon to invest its oil and gas wealth and its positive impact on the Lebanese economy.

Boat Sinking in Arwad:

President Aoun followed up on the details he received about the sinking of the Lebanese boat off Arwad Island, which was carrying a number of people, both Lebanese and non-Lebanese.

President Aoun was briefed on the latest data on the rescue operations and the provision of treatment to the survivors in Tartous, and the retrieval of a number of victims’ bodies.

President Aoun asked the competent authorities to provide all facilities to the families of the victims and survivors as a result of this tragic accident.

Congratulations to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques:

The President sent a congratulatory cable to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, on Saudi National Day.

President Aoun wished on his behalf and on behalf of the Lebanese people that “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under your wise leadership, enjoys glory, development and blessings”.

President Aoun also affirmed his aspiration to develop cooperation between the two countries in all fields, “In order to achieve the interests of our two brotherly peoples within the framework of weaving the best brotherly relations”.

  • NNA