President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, said on Thursday that he was still betting on the Lebanese people to work together to fight corruption and the squandering of public money in public administrations. General Aoun pledged to keep his promises and implement the content of his inauguration speech and the message of independence, despite the internal and external crises affecting the work of institutions and State networks. He then indicated that he was working in cooperation with the government and the relevant authorities to implement a comprehensive economic plan that would establish a healthy economy and gradually improve the situation in Lebanon.
Ambassadors of 6 major countries sounded the alarm Friday over President Michel Aoun’s latest statements about Hezbollah’s arms, amid threats that the the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon or UNIFIL could withdraw its peacekeeping mission from south Lebanon. A meeting was held on February 15 at the United Nations headquarters in Yarze. It included ambassadors of the International Support Group for Lebanon, the US, France, Britain, Germany, Italy and China in addition to the EU ambassador and Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Lebanon and Arab League Representative. The meeting addressed three main issues: The upcoming parliamentary elections and the new electoral law, the security situation in Lebanon including backing the Lebanese Army, the International Brussels Conference on the Syrian crisis and the Syrian refugees in Lebanon.Talks highlighted the latest statement of Aoun during an official visit to Egypt, during which they said does not abide by resolution 1701, but merely reflects visions of a single Lebanese party. The US ambassador has however, revealed a tendency to pull the UNIFIL forces from southern Lebanon if the country does not abide by international conventions.
France’s far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen refused Tuesday to go into a meeting with Lebanon’s grand mufti on Tuesday after his aides asked her to wear a headscarf. Le Pen, who is on a three-day visit to Lebanon this week and has met senior officials, was scheduled to meet with Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian, Lebanon’s top Sunni Muslim religious authority. Shortly after she arrived at his office Tuesday morning, one of his aides handed her out a white headscarf to put on. Following a discussion that lasted a few minutes, she refused and walked toward her car and left. Le Pen has tried to raise her international profile and press her pro-Christian stance with her visit to Lebanon, a former French protectorate. On Monday, she met with President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, declaring that Syrian President Bashar Assad was “the most reassuring solution for France”. On Tuesday, after walking away from the meeting with Derian, she said that before it, she had told the cleric’s office that she was not planning to don a veil during the encounter and was not told not to come. “They didn’t cancel the meeting so I thought they would accept the fact that I wouldn’t wear one”, she said. “They tried to impose it upon me, make it a matter of fact. You can’t put me before a matter of fact”
In light of the controversy that emerged after President Michel Aoun’s statement about Hezbollah’s weapons, Aoun stated on Tuesday that the future of the party’s arms will comply with Lebanon’s National Defense Strategy. “Lebanon, relative to its surroundings in terms of both human and economic power, is incapable of building a military force capable of confronting the enemy. Therefore it has to use special ways for fighting, involving regular (army) and popular forces. This is the idea that can be translated into a realistic plan” added the President. Numerous dangers threaten Lebanon, most of them coming from the Israeli enemy, and pose challenges for the State to face them by putting forth a National Defense strategy based on the Constitution, the laws, the requirements of coexistence and the resolutions of the international legitimacy.
President Michel Aoun tried again today to justify the presence of Hezbollah arms in Lebanon , stressing that the Lebanese army is not strong enough to defend Lebanon. Aoun, a key all of the Iranian backed militant group also issued a personal guarantee that Hezbollah will not point its guns against the Lebanese people. “Hezbollah are the residents of the South and are among the Lebanese citizens whose land was occupied and part of the land is still occupied,” the president noted, emphasizing that “certainly Hezbollah’s arms do not contradict with the State and are an essential component of the means to defend Lebanon.” Aoun added: “We have a land occupied by Israel and when Israel usurps certain territory, it would be difficult to recapture it. This is how we must view Hezbollah’s weapons.”