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Aoun: Lebanon Advancing at a Turtle’s Pace Due to 'Political Game'

Aoun: Lebanon Advancing at a Turtle’s Pace Due to 'Political Game'

Tuesday, 18 June, 2019 - 07:00
Lebanese President Michel Aoun is seen at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo
Beirut - Thaer Abbas
President Michel Aoun said the current situation in Lebanon was similar to the Titanic, which was slowly sinking, while its passengers were dancing in its ballrooms, unaware of the danger, until the disaster occurred.

Visitors of the Baabda Palace quoted Aoun as saying on Monday that the financial situation was delicate, but not hopeless.

“The State is suffering, not the employees,” he said, expressing his surprise at “the amount of uproar on this subject, while the salaries of the staff were never delayed”.

Aoun questioned how - in parallel with calls for austerity and warnings of the economic deterioration - some voices were rising in the official sectors to demand increases in salaries and contributions.

The president also emphasized that time did not allow for the “luxury of disputes”, underlining the need for political parties to actively engage in the process of saving the situation.

“Yes we are advancing, but our advancement is as slow as a turtle,” he affirmed.

“Much time is wasted on marginal issues, while things would go faster if we moved to work instead of criticizing and launching positions.”

The president said he hoped the situation would improve, but added: “This requires hard work and a clear intention to advance.”

He stressed that political blocs should refrain from inadequate criticism and political games, saying that the Council of Ministers had the duty to manage the country’s affairs and Parliament’s role was to issue legislations.

“The two institutions are not a place for political bickering,” he noted.

As for the wave of attacks against Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, his son-in-law and head of the Free Patriotic Movement, the Lebanese president considered that Bassil “was subjected to an organized campaign based on words he did not say or which got distorted.”

While Aoun expressed his hope for a promising summer season, anticipating the arrival of many Arab tourists, he said he expected the next phase to witness better government activity after the adoption of the 2019 state budget.

“Government’s action will go in two directions; the first, the economic plan, which should stem from the approved economic vision; and the second, the environmental plan. They both need validation by the Council of Ministers and the development of the relevant executive plans and would contribute to strengthening the economic situation and improving the quality of life of the Lebanese,” Aoun told his visitors.

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