President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, stressed Saturday that all necessary measures to ensure the country’s rise will be adopted, adding that serious efforts will be exerted with international partners to recover the looted public funds and confirming that combating corruption is an essential part of our work program.

We will take all strict financial measures for the economic revival and for that we do not need exceptional assistance, as much as we have the right to recover from the countries that ignited the war in Syria, part of the 25 billion dollars that Lebanon incurred as a result of this war and the Syrian displacement to it. The Lebanese economic market is small and can quickly be exhausted, but can also rapidly rise from its repression, stated Aoun.

The President’s words came in a special interview published by the widely-spread French magazine, Valeurs Actuelles, in its latest issue of today.

The current Lebanese situation is difficult, as we are suffering from a suffocating economic crisis, and the Lebanese economy has turned into a rentier economy since the Syrian entry into Lebanon in the nineties, which made our budgets rely on debts, and thus creating an unproductive economy that led to doubling the public debts, he said.

The wars that flared in a number of neighboring Arab countries, through which Lebanese products crossed into the Arab region, also contributed to doubling the economic crisis, which was further aggravated by the large number of Syrian displaced people, which exceeded Lebanon’s ability to bear. Today, their number with the Palestinian refugees constitutes about half of the population of Lebanon, the President explained.

In this connection, Aoun considered that the burdens shouldered by Lebanon in this respect exceed the capacity of major countries. This crisis has cost us about 25 billion dollars so far, according to the estimates of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, he said.

A number of countries have expressed their desire to help Lebanon, foremost of which is France, indicated Aoun. He revealed that during the last phone call between him and French President Emmanuel Macron, the French President congratulated him on forming the new government and they both dwelled on the current crisis, whereby Macron affirmed, We will have another conversation in the next few days.

Referring to the new government’s role, President Aoun indicated that it has to work to end the current economic crisis and take broad economic and financial measures to this effect, according to its ministerial statement. Hezbollah does not lead the new government, he stressed in response to a question.

Over the US-Iranian conflict, President Aoun said: Everyone believes that Hezbollah will interfere in a war between the two sides, but I personally guarantee that Hezbollah will respect Resolution #1701 issued by the Security Council. Additionally, the Party does not interfere in Lebanese internal affairs. It has its deputies and ministers, and everything issued by the government is acceptable at the national level, and the same applies with regards to Parliament. Outside this matter, Hezbollah has no role. We often hear that Lebanon’s sovereignty is lost and even violated due to the presence of Hezbollah, but this belief is wrong.

Turning to the Lebanese-French relations, Aoun described them as firm and steadfast. He added in response to a question on France’s policy towards Lebanon, that there were very strict French positions toward Israel, just as there were French positions in the interest of Lebanon, although there were not many practical initiatives as a result of international circumstancesWe have always maintained the best relations with France, and they have done what they could.

On the issue of Carlos Ghosn, the President said: We have repeatedly contacted the Japanese authorities throughout the duration of his detention, with the aim of helping him and knowing the charges against him. We also met with the Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister and asked him about the matter, yet we received no document on this issueThen one morning I was surprised by a call from him [Ghosn], and he left his contact number in Beirut, to which he returned from Turkey.

Asked if he anticipates a role for Ghosn in the economic revival of Lebanon, Aoun said: This is possible.

Source: National News Agency