Thursday, January 23, 2020


Lebanese President, General Michel Aoun, stressed on Monday that the preemptive strike carried out by the Army against terrorists was always based on the directives of the political authority, headed by the President of the Republic.

"It is the duty of the media to ask and investigate and obtain evidence, before disseminating charges against officials," the President told a delegation from the Union of Workers at the Audiovisual Media Council, headed by Randy Jabbour.

After President Aoun renewed his call to halt economic rent practices and to focus instead on economic production, he called for more efforts to plug deficit suffered by the treasury and to ensure the mitigation of debts. He also pushed for sounding the alarm on the increasing state expenditures that are not covered with sufficient revenues.

"The Lebanese pound is supported by production, not by debts," Aoun explained.

President Aoun also touched on the simmering displaced Syrians issue. "Lebanon bears a lot of burdens as a result of the increasing number of refugees," Aoun said, pointing out that "the international community's handling of this file, has not yet reached a stage which facilitates their return to their country.

"Lebanon hopes to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis to end the sufferings of the displaced and reduce its negative repercussions on Lebanon," the President added.

During his afternoon meetings, President Aoun discussed a number of political, economic and financial issues with Baabda interlocutors.

President Aoun received Deputy House Speaker, Farid Makari, who explained that he had broached with the President the general situation in the country, the latest political developments, and preparations for the implementation of the new election law.

"I also discussed with the President the financial situation in the country, the draft budget, the salary scale, and other related topics. I saw eye-to-eye with his Excellency on the importance of giving priority to the adoption of the general budget, especially that it will be the first budget approved since 2005."

"I also discussed with President Aoun matters concerning the Orthodox community in Lebanon," he added.

Fiscal and economic issues featured high between the President and Telecoms Minister, Jamal Jarrah, who also had an audience with Aoun today.

"I briefed the President on the ongoing work at the Ministry of Communications and on some short-term plans by the ministry that are in the process of being carried out," Jarrah said on emerging.

We also discussed projects that support SMEs (small and medium enterprises) within the telecommunications sector.

Responding to whether there's a possibility that a wage hike would be endorsed, and about the nature of its connection to the salary scale, Jarrah said: "The adoption of the budget is a fundamental issue, and there are simple points involving the salary scale that still need to be discussed. A meeting will be held today to thrash out these standing issues."

As for new reduction of telecoms tariffs, the Minister said: "We have started to apply the cuts, which are very large, to help citizens pay the required bills, in addition to the new internet speeds -- 4 MB for the price of LBP 90 thousand per month for open consumption."

Also on Monday, President Aoun met with the Archbishop of the Maronite Diocese of Australia, Bishop Antoine Charbel Tarbieh, in presence of Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Dr. Pierre Raffoul and Australian Ambassador Glenn Miles.

Source: National News Agency