President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, affirmed that he is working to form a government with full powers that, in the event of a presidential vacancy after October 31, this government would assume the full powers of the president.
He believed that Lebanon needs political and sovereign reform in addition to structural changes in the system, which must be strengthened and reformed.
The president pointing out that it is difficult to run a state with three heads, and stressed that the forensic financial audit of the accounts of the Banque du Liban is continuing, and the first report will be submitted at the end of September.
President Aoun’s statement came during his meeting this morning at Baabda Palace, in the presence of the Minister of Social Affairs Hector Hajjar, the ambassadors of the EU in Lebanon headed by Ambassador Ralph Tarraf. The discussion covered the current economic and social crisis in the country.
Ambassador Tarraf thanked President Aoun for the meeting and stressed that this gathering was to express deep concern about the current situation in Lebanon.
He said: “We share with many Lebanese, especially decision-makers, the feeling that the current situation is very sensitive and full of challenges, but it can and must be addressed through decisive and courageous measures.”
He added: “more than three years have passed since the economic system started to decline and more than two and a half years since Lebanon failed to pay its debts and the government submitted a financial recovery plan. The Lebanese decision-makers are still unable to implement the necessary measures to get Lebanon out of the crisis.”
He stressed that the decisions taken and the measures implemented are not enough, which is evidenced by the expectations of the GDP, the public debt and the significant decline of the Lebanese pound as a result of excessive inflation and the loss of purchasing power for the majority of the Lebanese and the diminishing ability of companies to operate normally.
We know that the Lebanese decision-makers are working in a very complex context and that there is a regional and international geopolitical environment full of challenges, in addition to the existing pandemic and the presence of a large number of refugees and sectarian political system, the parliamentary elections that took place, the presidential elections and the issue of government, but all These matters cannot be an excuse for postponing reforms,” stressing the need to pay more attention to rebuilding the economic, financial and monetary space in Lebanon as a first step to put the economy back on the path of recovery. He referred to the consensus that the IMF has, the appropriate experience and tools to be a partner in rebuilding this space, he considered that “there is no better solution than the IMG stressing the need to carry out reforms, including restructuring the financial sector to protect small depositors.
The French Ambassador, Anne Greu, spoke about the current Lebanese crisis, noting that France has stressed since the CEDRE conference on the need to adopt new rules for work.
She said: “We are all witnessing the decline of the Lebanese institutions, and we are in daily contact with the ministries and ministers, as members of the EU, we are ready to help Lebanon and play our role in the international community in this context, but in return we must be able to convince the concerned authorities of the commitment of the Lebanese authorities to the required reforms. These reforms must be implemented to adopt a special program of the IMF, which represents the only option that will allow the injection of funds into Lebanese institutions and constitutes an indicator of confidence.”
She believed that there should be a government with full powers alongside the Parliament, and the need to respect the constitutional requirements, foremost of which is the presidential election. She expressed fear that non-respect of the due dates would exacerbate crises and divisions in the country.
President Aoun pointed out that Lebanon was impacted by the Syrian war, which led to the closure of all its crossings to the Arab world, which is the vital extension of its economy, in addition to the financial and economic crisis that began in 2018 and had its previous roots, which led the country to the unprecedented financial fall and for the Central Bank and Lebanese banks that led to the loss of the Lebanese to savings, in addition to the demonstrations that took place in the Lebanese regions in 2019, leading to the impact of the Corona pandemic and the disaster of the Beirut Port explosion and its repercussions on the Lebanese economy as a whole.
The President of the Republic considered that the political and economic reasons are at the forefront of the crisis factors that Lebanon is currently witnessing, he referred to the corruption that plagued the system that was ruling in the past, in addition to committing mistakes in managing money in the Central Bank.
He stressed that Lebanon today needs political and sovereign reform, in addition to structural changes in the system that must be strengthened and reformed, pointing out that it is difficult to run a three-headed country, “that is why we are witnessing today this kind of constitutional chaos in the presence of a caretaker government and parliament.”
President Aoun made it clear that he is working to form a government with full powers that, in the event of a presidential vacancy occurring after October 31, would assume the full powers of the president.
He referred to the appeal he made to the judicial authority, which is facing difficulties in its work, speaking of the obstruction in the investigation process into the explosion of the Port of Beirut and the investigation into the responsibility of the Banque du Liban in the current monetary management, noting that the forensic financial audit of the accounts of the Banque du Liban is continuing in the hope that the first report will be presented by the end of this September.
Minister Hajjar talked about what was achieved in the “Aman” program, and it was not possible to complete the financing card because the ministry did not obtain the necessary funding,
He addressed the issue of the Syrian refugees and the great burden that Lebanon bears as a result.
He said : “We consider this displacement an important part of our economic and social problem in Lebanon, especially in light of the many circumstances that have occurred in Lebanon recently and the Corona pandemic.”
He said, “No country in the world can receive displaced persons whose number reaches half of its population and remains healthy. The number of Syrians today on Lebanese territory is two million, moving between Lebanon and Syrian territory, and the largest number of them are not displaced. The approach to the economic and financial solution in Lebanon is through the assistance the World Bank and addressing the situation of the displaced Syrians. This matter is as important as the World Bank’s assistance and economic and financial reforms.”
The EU delegation included Ambassador Tarraf, political official in the EU delegation in Lebanon, Ms. Hanna Severin, Abdel Bitat, Deputy Head of Cooperation in the EU Delegation in Lebanon, and the ambassadors of: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland, in addition to the Chargé d’Affairs of the Hungarian and Slovak embassies, and the Deputy Head of Mission at the Irish Embassy in Lebanon.
On the Lebanese side, in addition to Minister Hajjar, former minister Salim Jreissati and advisors Rafik Chelala, Osama Khashab and Raymond Tarabay attended the meeting.
Archimandrite Dib and Archbishop George Iskandar.
President Aoun met with the General President of the Basilian Savior Order Archimandrite Antoine Deeb, and the elected Metropolitan of the Diocese of Tyre and its Dependencies for the Melkite Greek Catholic, Archbishop George Iskandar, who invited President Aoun to attend the episcopal ordination of Archbishop Iskandar Al-Mukhlisi in the Diocese of Tyre, on Saturday, October 8 at 5:00 pm in at the Monastery of the Savior in John Chouf. President Aoun wished the new bishop success in his new spiritual responsibilities. It was an occasion during which the general situation in the country was discussed in light of recent developments as well as the current social conditions.