Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, said Monday in New York where he takes part in the UN General Assembly that the economic situation in Lebanon is “delicate”, but that the country will implement “serious reforms”.
“The economic situation in Lebanon is delicate, “President Aoun told a delegation from the Task Force for Lebanon, stating that the situation was” the result of a cumulative effect since 1990, as well as developments in the region, which have had a significant impact on Lebanon.” He also recalled that “the heavy weight of the displaced” on the country of Cedars.
“Lebanon is working for (economic) recovery by putting in place development projects accompanied by serious reforms and a new budget including austerity measures sufficient to obtain the appreciation of donor countries,” said Aoun
Aside from economic measures, Aoun named plans for fighting corruption, increasing transparency and monitoring unnecessary spending in the public sector as important structural reforms.
The Lebanese government has committed to make a series of structural and economic reforms in order to unlock the $11 billion of funds pledged at last year’s CEDRE conference.
Aoun is set to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in the presence of Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil tonight in New York
The meeting between Aoun and Macron comes days after Prime Minister Saad Hariri concluded a visit to Paris, during which he discussed CEDRE projects with the French leader.
A source close to Aoun told Asharq Al Awsat , the President’s speech on Wednesday before the United Nations in New York “is of particular significance because of the pressing issues he will raise, mainly the Israeli violations of resolution 1701,” that reached the southern suburbs of Beirut.
Aoun “will urge the international community to persuade Tel Aviv to stop its air, land and sea attacks on Lebanon and to abide by resolution 1701.” He will also thank the United Nations for keeping its troops in southern Lebanon to deter Israel, and for extending their mandate without modification, said the sources.
The President will focus on the importance of sparing the Middle East and Gulf from any military confrontation between Washington and Tehran, after the attacks targeting some of the oil facilities of Aramco.
The file of Syrian refugees in Lebanon will also be a main concern for Aoun. He will ask for support to reduce the number of displaced Syrians, in light of the economic repercussions on Lebanon as a result of their continued unprogrammed distribution.
Aoun will be holding a series of summits with his counterparts. The most important of which is with the French President according to the sources.
The sources said that Macron “may be the only president in addition to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who can spare Lebanon from being part of any confrontation between the US and Iran.”
Macron said he would meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Monday and U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday as he seeks to defuse tensions between Washington and Tehran.
An attack on Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14, which the United States and Saudi Arabia blamed on Iran, was a turning point, Macron told reporters. Iran has denied involvement.
L’Orient Le Jour/ As Sharq Al Awsat