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New President’s Inaugural Speech Stresses the Need to Dissociate Lebanon from External Conflicts - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut – Newly elected Lebanese President Michel Aoun highlighted the need to adopt an independent foreign policy that would be based on Lebanon’s higher interests and the respect of international law.

Aoun’s inaugural speech on Monday was seen by many observers as the basis for the new government’s ministerial statement, which would be oriented towards neither of the country’s main coalitions – the March 14 and the March 8 forces.

The new president did not refer to Hezbollah when talking about the resistance against the Israeli occupation and called instead for dissociating Lebanon from external conflicts. Such statement was seen by observers as a message to Hezbollah to find the appropriate means to withdraw from the Syrian conflict.

Aoun said that national unity was the first pillar of national security. He noted that Lebanon was still immune to the flames raging around it in the region. He added that his top priorities as president, was “to prevent the transmission of any spark to the country”.

“It is therefore necessary to dissociate Lebanon from external conflicts, while remaining committed to the Charter of the League of Arab States, and in particular Article 8 thereof and adopting an independent foreign policy based on Lebanon’s higher interest and the respect of international law, in view of safeguarding the country as an oasis of peace, stability and encounter”, Aoun said.

Commenting on the president’s inaugural speech, Lebanese Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi said that Aoun has addressed an implicit message to Hezbollah to stop its interference in the Syrian conflict and other conflicts in the region.

For his part, former minister and Free Patriotic Movement official Mario Aoun, said that Hezbollah’s role in the Syrian war cannot be dealt with by Lebanon’s government.

“This issue will not be at the core of the new era’s priorities; we will overcome it to resolve urgent internal issues,” the FPM official told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.

Progressive Socialist Party Media Officer Rami Rayess said that Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian war was the result of a major regional decision that has been taken several years ago, stressing that the new government was likely to disregard the matter and focus on internal affairs.

Azzi, for his part, praised Aoun’s success in dissociating himself from both March 14 and March 8 forces, noting that the inaugural speech has stressed Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence. He added that the most important question addressed in Aoun’s speech was the need for the Syrian migrants and Palestinian refugees to return home.

Rayess noted that the new president was keen on the full implementation of the Taif Accord and the adoption of a new parliamentary electoral law.