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Lebanon’s President Attends Christmas Celebrations for First Time since Two Years | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Aoun speaks from Bkirki on Sunday/NNA

Beirut – Two years following the absence of a President, Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun participated on Sunday at the Christmas celebrations promising all Lebanese he would endeavor to make it a year of plenty, peace and success.

“We know there are plenty of promises. I do not want you to get disappointed. We will work very hard to achieve those promises,” Aoun said.

And when asked in which holiday the new electoral law would see the light, Aoun replied: “The holiday of elections.”

For his part, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai said during his sermon that the country needed to emerge out of its darkness into the light, noting that the presence of two million displaced people and refugees posed a grave danger to domestic security.

“The majority of political and parliamentary blocs agreed over your name and no one else’s because they realized you were the best and most appropriate person to reinforce a State of law and institutions,” Rai said, addressing Aoun.

Rai added: ” Lebanon cannot grow unless with the unity of all powers…We hope that your term can turn around religious and sectarian conflicts and the mutual fear between East and West.”

Addressing the Syrian refugees crisis, Rai said, “Social security is in peril due to the presence of two million displaced people and refugees. Despite our full humanitarian solidarity with them and their cause, they do threaten domestic stability and snatch the livelihoods of other Lebanese, and subject themselves to political, sectarian and terrorist exploitation. They are a heavy burden that is crushing the State and the people.”

Rai said Lebanon is in need of comprehensive national reconciliation. “The economy needs repair and development of all productive sectors,” he said.