President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, stressed at the opening of the political-economic meeting in Baabda Palace today the need not to turn the differences of opinion and perspectives between various sides in the country into a dispute that would hinder the country's national interests.
"The prevailing economic and financial conditions necessitate that we all transcend our political or personal differences, and that we do not turn our differences of opinion into disputes at the expense of the supreme national interest," he said.
"Our people expect us, as the international community, to reach effective solutions to the economic and financial conditions we are experiencing in the country, so that we can move on to the phases of stability and growth, avoiding the worst, the President emphasized.
Addressing the cabinet ministers, parliamentary bloc heads and economic and financial figures attending the meeting, Aoun said: "Let me first welcome you to Baabda Palace, and express my optimism towards the positive outcome expected from this uniting national meeting.
He added: In light of this hope we begin our meeting, through which we wish to erase the harmful accumulations of the past and establish a new stage that will restore to our society confidence and faith in a brighter tomorrow, and to our nation its presence and status in its surroundings and the world at large. "
"Sacrifice, of course, is required of us all, but the process of rebuilding confidence in our institutions and our performance and changing the prevailing pattern that has proved its failure, remains the cornerstone for the advancement of our country and achieving our citizens' aspirations, Aoun asserted.
"We are all responsible and trustworthy of the rights, future, security and livelihood of the Lebanese. We must, therefore, unite our efforts to come up with viable solutions to the economic crisis that is stifling the dreams of our people," he maintained.
The President outlined the main goals behind the Baada encounter today, namely to assess together the possible formulas that can be executed to address the country's pressing needs, and to find a set of steps and responsible, objective measures that would lead to the start of the recovery stage, veering the state away from the much-feared deterioration threatening its economic and social stability.
We must take steps to complement the decisions of the 2019 budget, in terms of strengthening the state's finances and reducing its deficit, and of course pave the way for the adoption of the 2020 budget at its constitutional date, taking into account the situation of the underprivileged classes in our society, Aoun underlined.
It is to note that the economic meeting at Baabda Presidential Palace, which began around 3:00 o'clock this afternoon, was preceded by a closed encounter between President Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and House Speaker Nabih Berri.
Attending the wider meeting were: Al-Azem Movement Bloc Chief, MP Najib Mikati; Strong Lebanon Bloc Head, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil; Progressive Socialist Party Chief, former Minister and MP Walid Jumblatt; Marada Movement Chief, former Minister and MP Sleiman Franjieh; Lebanese Forces Party Chief, Samir Geagea; Mountain Guarantee Bloc Head, MP Talal Arslan; Loyalty to Resistance" Bloc Head, MP Mohammed Raad; Syrian Social Nationalist Party Chief, MP Asaad Hardan; Tashnaq Party Head, MP Agop Paqradounian; Kataeb Party Chief, MP Sami Gemayel; and Representative of the Consultative Gathering, MP Jihad al-Samad.
The meeting was also attended by the Ministers of Finance and Economy, Ali Hassan Khalil and Mansour Bteich, who briefed the conferees on the country's prevailing financial and economic status, alongside State Minister for Presidency Affairs Salim Jreissati, Central Bank Governor Riyad Salameh, Banks Association President Salim Sfeir, Republic Presidency Director General Antoine Choucair and Advisor to PM Hariri, Hazar Caracalla.
Source: National News Agency