Beirut - NNA - The President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, stressed that "The accuracy of this stage requires doubling efforts and work, especially since the Government was formed in light of very difficult economic, financial and social conditions".
The President reassured the need to work to address the economic situation and restore confidence of the international community in Lebanese institutions, and work to reassure the Lebanese of their future, pointing out to holding successive sessions of the Cabinet.
"We have already prepared an economic plan and financial reforms which the Government will have to implement, or amend, when necessary" President Aoun said.
On the other hand, Prime Minister, Dr. Hassan Diab, said that today's session will be the whistle for the Governmental launch, "Because we are facing the most difficult and dangerous stage in the history of our country", hoping that every Minister begins setting agendas for his files.
"We are facing a catastrophe, and we must alleviate its impact on the Lebanese" Diab stated, believing that the Government is a national rescue one, and not a Government of classes, parties or teams, but rather a Government of all Lebanon and the Lebanese. Diab also stressed the need to secure stability by restoring the confidence of the Lebanese in their state, stressing the importance of supporting the army and security forces "Because they are the valve of stability", and that democracy remains preserved and protected. The Prime Minister considered that the democratic practice presupposes listening to peoples' opinion, adding that "People are the primary source of authority".
The stances, of the President and Prime Minister, came during the first session of the new Government which took place this afternoon, at the Presidential Palace, which resulted in forming a committee to draft the Ministerial Statement.
Statement of the Council of Ministers:
After the session ended, the Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers, Judge Mahmoud Makiya, read the following statement:
"The Council of Ministers held, this afternoon, in the Baabda Palace, its first session headed by His Excellency, President Michel Aoun, in the presence of Prime Minister, Dr. Hassan Diab, and the Ministers.
At the beginning of the session, His Excellency congratulated the Ministers, wishing them success in their new tasks, stressing on the accuracy of the stage which requires us to redouble efforts and work, especially since this Government was formed under very difficult economic, financial and social conditions.
The President said: "Your mission is accurate and you must gain the confidence of the Lebanese and work to achieve the goals they aspire, either with regard to the life demands which need to be achieved, or the economic conditions which have deteriorated as a result of accumulation over many years".
His Excellency, the President, pointed to the need to work to address the economic situation and restore confidence of the international community in Lebanese institutions, and reassure the future of the Lebanese people. We have already prepared an economic plan and financial reforms that the government will have to implement or amend when necessary.
His Excellency, the President, pointed to holding successive Cabinet sessions to complete the agendas and compensate for what was missed during the past weeks, knowing that this session is dedicated to forming the Ministerial Statement Committee.
Prime Minister Diab:
Afterwards, the Prime Minister said:
"Thank you, Mr. President, what you said puts the finger on the wound in our painful reality which we have reached today.
Indeed, as I congratulate the Ministers, I feel that the era cannot afford the luxury of congratulations, as the situation in the country is not reassuring on all levels. There are tremendous challenges ahead, and we are all concerned with taking these challenges, collectively and individually, here in the Cabinet, and also every Minister in his ministry.
Although today's session bears a protocol characteristic, I would like to launch the Government, because we are facing the most difficult and dangerous stage in the history of Lebanon. The Lebanese are tired of promises, statements and plans which remain ink on paper, while their capabilities are eroded, and hopes are almost dissipated by a stable homeland that reassures them of their future and the future of their children.
The Lebanese people have the right to shout, and demand the stop of the country's downward path, while reform remains captive to tensions.
Today we are facing a financial, economic and social dilemma. Indeed, we are facing a disaster, and we must alleviate the impact of this disaster on the Lebanese people. Describing the problem may take us a long time now, but the problems are clear. I am sure that each one of you understands the magnitude of the risks.
The important thing today is to secure stability which preserves the country in order to deviate from consolidating the pillars of stability by restoring confidence of the Lebanese people in the state.
Therefore, betting on protecting the back of the Lebanese army and security forces, by securing the political umbrella that gives immunity in dealing wisely with challenges, and distinguishing between protest and riots. Therefore, I stress the importance of supporting the army and security forces, because they are the safety for stability.
Democracy must remain preserved, protected, and democratic expression must be taken care of even if it is against us, because the democratic practice presupposes listening to people's opinion and screaming, as the people are the primary source of authority. In practice, this Government is a national rescue one, and therefore it is not a Government of a class, party, or team. It is the Government of all Lebanon and all Lebanese. We have to deal with problems of the people, with wisdom. The Minister is not in a position ahead of the people, the Minister's understanding that he is concerned with pursuing people's concerns, following up on their demands, working to alleviate them, and facilitating life in their homeland.
In this sense, we must deal with the files presented at the level and in each ministry. I hope we can present a different picture in this Government. I hope that every Minister begins by setting the agenda for the files which he must complete quickly.
There is a socio-economic and financial reality which cannot bear many studies and discussions. There are files in which work can be launched quickly, and we must work day and night in order to achieve our goals. We are not a political Government, and therefore, we will not be plunged into debates which lead to useless tensions and debates. This Government must be exceptional. In the performance of its ministers, in its plan of action, accomplishments, and in its composition as one working team, working to save Lebanon. Please work a lot and talk a little.
Ministerial Statement Committee:
The Cabinet formed a committee to prepare the Ministerial Statement. The committee is headed by the Prime Minister, with the membership of the Deputy PM, and Ministers of: Finance, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Economy and Trade, Environment and Administrative Development, Media, Youth and Sports, Communications, Industry, and Social Affairs. The committee will hold its first meeting next Friday, at 11:00am, in the Grand Serail.
Ministers had successively arrived to the Presidential Palace, starting 10:00am, where official photos were taken for each Minister.
Speaker of the Parliament, Nabih Berri, arrived where he met with President Aoun in his office, before arrival of the Prime Minister, who joined the meeting afterwards.
At 10:30am, the President, Speaker of the Parliament, and Prime Minister, accompanied by the Ministers, moved to the Presidential Garden, where an official memorial photo of the new Government was taken.
While leaving Baabda Palace, Speaker Berri responded to a reporter's question saying: "According to the media, there is no optimism about the Government, however I am very optimistic". ----Presidency Press Office