MICHEL AOUN, President of Lebanon, recalling the Beirut Port blast, expressed his gratitude to the Secretary-General, Heads of State and France, in particular, for their support in the aftermath of this catastrophe. Pointing to the recent political crisis, he stated that his country embarked on the path of recovery after having formed the Government, which is committed to carry out financial and economic reforms, fight corruption and lay down a financial recovery plan. He emphasized that Lebanon would rely on the international community’s support to revitalize its economy and create jobs, as well as to recover “smuggled funds”.
Underscoring the economic, social and security impact of regional conflicts and the influx of displaced Syrian refugees on his country, he urged the international community to ensure a safe return of the displayed and rejected the idea of their integration in Lebanon. Likewise, he rejected “any form of settlement of the Palestinian refugees” and called for “finding a solution to the Palestinian issue in accordance with international resolutions, which guarantee the right of return”. Moreover, Lebanon demands resumption of indirect negotiations on the demarcation of the southern maritime borders in line with the international laws.
Turning to the pandemic, he said the repercussions of the crisis hit hardest the country’s economy and health sector, which suffered from a shortage of medical supplies, fuel and health-care professionals. However, Lebanon has vaccinated 30 per cent of its population and seeks to surpass a goal of 40 per cent by year’s end.
Following the Beirut Port blast, he said, the capital “continues to be quiet and dark”, while the need remains pressing for the reconstruction and development supplies. “The international solidarity with our capital and our people is commendable,” he said, calling for the international assistance with the investigation of the blast. “We, therefore, repeat our request to the States, which possess information and data that can help the investigation, to share it,” he said.
Going forward, he called on the States to sign the establishment convention of the Academy for Human Encounters and Dialogue. Setting up the Academy has been delayed due to the past crisis, and construction work is to be initiated soon. He further noted that the theme of this year’s General Assembly — Building Resilience Through Hope — is a daily motto of the Lebanese people, who rely on international solidarity on their way to recovery.
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