AOUN: I WILL DO EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO ENSURE FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR THE ELECTION OF A NEW PRESIDENT

President of the Republic Michel Aoun vowed to “do everything in (his) power to ensure the favorable conditions for the election of a new president,” in his address on the occasion of the 77th Army Day on Monday.

Following is the President’s speech:

“Distinguished audience,

Today, Army Day encapsulates all the values of patriotism and sacrifice for the sake of the land, the people, security, and unity, we as Lebanese, stand for. Indeed, this year, the Army Day imparts a profound meaning to all these values, owing to the magnitude of the challenges facing the military institution as a result of the difficult and exhausting economic conditions for all of its members, as well as for the entire Lebanese population.

Let me extend my heartfelt greetings to the robust, firmly grounded, and deeply ethical Army of Lebanon.

I would like to pay tribute to every officer and member of the Army. Let me tell you, with pride and confidence, that you are Lebanon's guarantee and bridge that would offer a way out of the tunnel of severe crises that stifled the glimmer of hope in the hearts of the Lebanese people.

Graduating officers,

Today, you are handed a sword that carries a highly symbolic value in your military career.

Thus, from now on, strive to transform this sword into a statement of integrity in the face of corruption, a diligent work to uphold the values of truth without discrimination, and a bastion to defend the territory, the nation, and the people.

You have chosen to name your class after the ‘Centenary of the military college’, which reflects, on its own, the history of your training school which brings forth stalwart men, and the difficulties, challenges, and wars it went through, which only increased its authenticity, firmness, and resilience.

I am glad to see today, that for the first time in the officers’ graduation ceremony, the number of male officers equals that of female officers, opening the door wide for women to serve as officers in the military institution, in culmination of the endeavors I made in this regard when I assumed command of the Army.

Soldiers,

We are celebrating Army Day under challenging circumstances for the country. In addition to the security challenges you bear the responsibility to face, the widening scale of livelihood and economic difficulties is taking a heavy toll on the military personnel, their parents, families, and a wide segment of their fellow citizens.

You may rest assured that I will spare no effort to alleviate these difficulties, within the available means and capabilities.

I am well aware of how much struggle, preparedness, and exhaustion it takes to continue to perform your duty.

I am also cognizant that you have never failed to fulfill this duty, for the military values you grew up with are deeply rooted in your souls.

My fellow Lebanese,

Lebanon is bearing the brunt of the accelerating regional and international developments. For our part, we strive, in light of the frenetic prevailing atmosphere, to keep our country away from all ensuing tensions and influences.

Hence, we are keen to maintain calm and stability on our southern borders, a mission UNIFIL forces faithfully and professionally carry out in cooperation and coordination with the Army. In this context, I bow to the memory of the martyrs of these forces, whose blood had mixed with that of the soldiers watching over Lebanon's security and territorial integrity.

In parallel, we underscore our keenness to uphold our rights over our territorial waters and natural resources, with no complacency under any circumstances. The ultimate objective of ongoing indirect negotiations to delineate the southern maritime borders is to uphold Lebanon’s rights, reach conclusions that would preserve our rights and wealth, through cooperation with the American mediator, and provide an opportunity to achieve economic recovery in the country upon the conclusion of the negotiations.

My fellow Lebanese,

Amid multiple challenges and confrontations, Lebanon is still without a government, despite almost two and a half months after the beginning of the new parliament term, which was formed following elections where citizens have exercised their freedom of choice.

Yet, despite the bet that parliamentary elections would not take place, Lebanon has a new parliament. Unfortunately, the same bet is reiterated today in addressing the faltering conduct of presidential elections.

From my position, and in shouldering my constitutional responsibilities, I reiterate that, as I committed myself to holding the parliamentary elections, I will do everything in my power to ensure favorable conditions for the election of a new president who will pursue the laborious reform process that we have embarked on.

However, this national milestone can only be achieved if the Speaker and members of the new parliament assume their responsibilities in choosing the person with the personality and qualifications deemed appropriate by the Lebanese people to take this responsibility. I hope presidential elections will not face the same fate as the new cabinet formation, since the elements and criteria needed for it to be a fully empowered government, capable of carrying out its present and future responsibilities, are yet to be met.

I stress in this context that the failure to form a government exposes the country to further turmoil and deepens economic and financial difficulties. All the persons involved carry a primary responsibility in averting further deterioration and attrition in the country.

Fellow officers,

This is the last time I hand over swords to the graduates of this college.

Congratulations on this blessed day, for you have taken the oath of preserving Lebanon; hence, follow the guidance of your oath, and here is your chance. Believe in the future of your country, and strive to make it better for you and the entire Lebanese population.

God bless and protect you!

Long Live the Army!

Long Live Lebanon!”

Source: National News Agency