| 17 October 2021, Sunday |

President Aoun meets Nuland: Lebanon is willing to resume indirect negotiations with Israel to demarcate southern maritime borders

President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, received US Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador Victoria Nuland, today at the Presidential Palace.

The President told Ambassador Nuland, that “The new government will conduct negotiations with the International Monetary Fund in order to assist Lebanon in economic recovery, in conjunction with carrying out reforms and launching the reconstruction of Beirut Port, accompanied by attention to energy security, management development and necessary reform laws”.

The President also asserted that “Parliamentary elections will take place on time, freely, transparently and democratically”, and pointed to the need to help Lebanon face the difficult economic and social conditions which the country is passing through, “Which is reflected in the living conditions of citizens and affected the national currency rate”.

Moreover, President Aoun emphasized that securing electric power is a priority, in conjunction with the rehabilitation of the Port, “Which is the main artery of the national economy”.

In addition, the President presented the reasons which led Lebanon to this difficult economic and financial situation, especially the Syrian war and the siege imposed on Lebanon as a result of border closure, accompanied by the displacement of more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees, as well as the spread of Corona pandemic and the Beirut Port explosion. President Aoun indicated that all these negative factors combined, negatively affected the Lebanese situation and the living condition of the Lebanese people.

Afterwards, the President informed Nuland that “Lebanon is willing to resume indirect negotiations with Israel in order to demarcate southern maritime borders to complete the process of oil and gas exploration in its territorial waters, given the importance of this in achieving Lebanon’s economic advancement”.

President Aoun concluded reiterating Lebanon’s thanks for US assistance to the Army and security apparatuses, in addition to the successive social assistance.

For her side, Ambassador Nuland conveyed the greetings of US President, Joe Biden, and Foreign Minister, Anthony Blinken, to President Aoun, in addition to their congratulations for forming the new government. Nuland also stressed that the US stands by Lebanon to help face the current economic, social and living challenges, pointing out that “After the formation of the new government, Washington hopes that work will be done to achieve reforms and hold parliamentary elections”.

Moreover, Ambassador Nuland stressed US readiness to work, with the international community and financial funds, especially the IMF, to provide the required support to Lebanon and continuous support for the Lebanese Army.