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Aoun: Lebanon will not go Backwards, State-Building Needs Economic Stability | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Newly elected Lebanese President Michel Aoun (C) takes an oath after he was elected at the Lebanese parliament in downtown Beirut on October 31, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / JOSEPH EID)

Beirut: President Michel Aoun said Tuesday “Lebanon will not go backwards,” and asserted that state-building could not be achieved without the necessary plans and projects.

“The country’s local situation witnessed a tangible improvement during the last two weeks and there’s no backward move from now on,” Aoun said during a meeting with a delegation from the Banks Association at the Baabda Presidential Palace.

On Tuesday, Aoun also received a letter of congratulation from Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Meanwhile, it seems Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri would not face the same obstacles he had faced in 2009 when drafting his government’s ministerial statement, amid an agreement that the new text would be based on the inaugural speech delivered by Aoun in Parliament after his oath.

Since 2005, the weapons of the so-called Hezbollah have been an obstacle to governments while drafting their ministerial statements, as the party used to insist to include a clause on “people, army and resistance” while the party’s opponents rejected this formula and tried to find a text that pleases both sides.

According to informed sources, Aoun and Hariri were sure that drafting the ministerial statement would be an easy task. “Hezbollah would not be strict vis-à-vis the statement, but there is no doubt that the party would not accept any formula that does not mention the word resistance,” the source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Member of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc MP Salim Salhab told the newspaper: “The ministerial statement would be drafted based on a loose formula that will not discomfort any side.”

During his inaugural speech, the president said: “We shall spare no effort and no resistance to liberate the remaining occupied Lebanese territories, and protect our country from an enemy that still covets our land, water and natural resources.”

Member of the Future Movement parliamentary bloc MP Mohammed Qabbani hoped the ministerial statement would be drafted swiftly.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Qabbani ruled out a Hezbollah objection to the formula of the president’s inaugural speech, saying: “Resistance against the Israeli enemy is normal, and we believe in it on condition that it be based on a defensive policy that relies on the Army as a basic force.”

The MP said that in his speech, Aoun did not specify what kind of resistance Lebanon would use to confront the enemy. “This is something we accept,” Qabbani said.