President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, met National Defense Minister, Maurice Sleem, today at Baabda Palace.
The meeting tackled the security situation and the measures taken by the army to maintain stability in all Lebanese regions.
The conditions of the military, their needs and ways to alleviate the suffering they are experiencing economically and financially under the current circumstances were also discussed.
President Aoun also addressed demarcating the southern maritime borders in light of the talks held with the American mediator for indirect negotiations, Mr. Amos Hochstein, and the unified Lebanese position on this important national issue.
President Aoun received Information Minister, Ziad al-Makari, and discussed with him general affairs and political positions on the eve of the start of binding parliamentary consultations to assign a premier to form the new government, which will undertake several essential tasks in addressing the economic and social conditions in the country.
The meeting also tackled the conditions of the official media institutions and the needs of their employees, based on the role they are supposed to play in approaching issues of concern to the Lebanese.
President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council:
The President received the head of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Charles Arbid.
Arbid briefed President Aoun on what the Council is doing within the framework of the tasks entrusted to it under its founding law, in various economic, labor and social fields.
After the meeting, Mr. Arbid made the following statement:
“I was honored to meet His Excellency the President. I briefed President Aoun on participatory meetings and dialogue between employers and workers, with the Minister of Labor, and the agreement that was reached and announced in the Index Committee, to increase the transportation allowance to 95 thousand Lebanese pounds, and increase the minimum to two million and 600,000 Lebanese pounds.
I take the opportunity to say that this matter is not enough for the workers, but this is a start that will be followed by other steps. The economic and social dialogue remains open.
There is the issue of the public sector, and there is a discussion about it between the government and public sector employees, and it is necessary for the sector to return to work. Hence, it is necessary to secure the minimum level and transportation allowance as well. That is to be translated through a decree, officials find a way to follow it, provided that the matter is not delayed.
Our hope and request remains that there be a rapid formation of the government in order to be able to be close to the many people’s concerns, which are unfortunately multiplying.
Questions & Answers:
In response to a question about whether there is a conversation with the banks, which decide on a daily basis to take measures to seize the pensions and granted aid, Arbid replied: “Of course, the issue of banks is great, and reforming the banking sector and restoring health to it is self-evident, as there is no economy without a banking sector. But on the other hand, banks and the Banque du Liban should pay attention to the fact that citizens’ pensions are essential, and they must be secured in order to have liquidity, because in many times liquidity is not secured.
This is essential, especially for public sector employees. There is work that must affect all citizens, as it is not important that it is said that pensions have been increased, and this increase is hardly enough, and when the citizen goes to get his pension, he finds that the banks are holding him.
We will be faced with greater demand for it, inflation and an increase in the currency price, but what is required is to maintain pensions and wages as a sacred matter for which liquidity must be secured, whether in the public or private sectors”.