Thursday, 20 Feb 2020

Aoun returns to Beirut, rebuffs campaigns against him: I am not the one to take initiative in government file

President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, returned to Beirut this morning after having chaired the Lebanese delegation to the United Nations at its 73rd session where he delivered a speech and held a series of sidelines meetings with counterparts.

On the flight back to Beirut, President Aoun had a chat with journalists on various topics. He stressed that "his participation in the 73rd session of the United Nations was aimed at conveying a speech reflecting the Lebanese reality and our views of positions taken by major countries, but have harmful impact on us, same as the Palestinian cause and its repercussions."

"I also conveyed my vision for the establishment of the Human Academy for Dialogue, after having launched, last year, the initiative to render Lebanon an international center for dialogue of religions, cultures and ethnicities. I wanted to personally convey the image from our surrounding; there is an Arab cause that we will never give up on, even if others do. It is the Palestinian cause. There is also the issue of displaced Syrians, and the reality of the United Nations, which the current President of the General Assembly has spoken about. It dwells on transforming the international organization into an institution that enjoys the confidence of the world, as to helping solve problems. I tried to address the conscience of the world and urge them to act, because we live in a global predator community and people cannot be totally stripped of values," said the President.

Tackling the campaign against him, President Aoun stressed that "it is a personal campaign but it is groundless, so I am not affected by it."

On maintaining the link between the political solution in Syria and the return of the displaced, President Aoun said "we have given examples of the delay in agreeing on political solutions to major crises, including the Cyprus cause that divided the island between the Turks and the Greeks, and the political solution remains impossible. There is also the Palestinian cause, where the refugees are still waiting for a political solution, 70 years later, while the situation is getting worse. We may witness, overnight, the absence of the Palestinian nation, yet the United States has suspended its UNRWA funding for refugee relief, although the reasons for the agency's existence have not yet ended."

On the subject of the government, the President considered that "there are two options: a government of national coalition or a majority government, and if we cannot form a coalition government, then let us form a majority government in accordance with the rules in force, and those who do not want to participate could simply withdraw."

He noted that before he left to New York, there still were no signs of imminent formation.

To those wondering why the President was not interfering in the formation of the government, Aoun said "the solution lies in getting someone to take the initiative, but it is not me who will take that initiative, because I am not in the first republic. Everyone reaffirms the Taif Republic. Some even deny my right not to accept a certain government formula, while this is clearly stated in the Constitution. Let them then explain to me the meaning of partnership."

"The prime minister has the right to take the initiative, whether or not the parties agree," Aoun added.

And whether the external complexity still exists, he said: "The node is sometimes external but expressed locally."

On the possibility of imposing US sanctions on Lebanon and the link between that and banning the return of displaced persons, Aoun replied "There are no rules of cooperation today. No one knows what the US president will decide."

"The economic situation is difficult yet resolvable. We have started fighting corruption after fighting terrorism. We must clean administrations and adopt productive economy," he pointed out when tackling the economic situation of the country.

Asked about bringing back the resistance to the Lebanese literature at the United Nations platform, he replied: "I cannot deny our history. I have mentioned facts in my speech. (...) The Israeli occupation is what led to the armed resistance. Can anyone deny the fact that the Resistance has fought the Israelis out?"

"Hezbollah has resisted the first attack by terrorist groups on Lebanon, starting from Al-Qusair," he went on to say. "We are all fighting terrorism in Lebanon, and it is not me who's reviving the resistance. This is the history of Lebanon. The Resistance is living by its capabilities and the Syrian crisis has made Hezbollah part of the regional cause. If the international community is unable to help us solve the crisis of the Syrian refugees, then how can we deal with the issue of Hezbollah alone, while it has regional and international dimensions, and the Middle East problem is still unsolved? A solution ought to be found to the Middle East issue. Only then can the subsidiary issues be resolved," he concluded.

Source: National News Agency

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