After his appointment to form the new government, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri made the following statement at Baabda Palace:
His Excellency President Michel Aoun honored me by designating me to form the government, based on the parliamentary consultations he conducted today. I thanked the President for his confidence and the confidence of the MPs who honored me by designating me.
As of this moment, I will work on forming it, after agreeing with Speaker Nabih Berri on the dates of the parliamentary consultations, knowing that all large parliamentary blocs agree on the need to form a national entente government as soon as possible, in light of the increasing regional risks around our country, and the pressing economic and financial conditions.
The new government is required to continue to stabilize political stability, strengthen state institutions and reinforce the economy to create employment opportunities for the Lebanese especially the youth. It other words, it is required to follow the process that started with the formation of the caretaker government, build on its many achievements, consolidate the commitment to the policy of disassociation and establish the best relations with the Arab brothers.
Of course, the new government will also have to pursue efforts to confront the crisis of the Syrian displacement and achieve a series of administrative and economic reforms that we committed to in front of the Lebanese first and of the investors on whom we count to restore the confidence and investments in the revival of the Lebanese economy.
We fulfilled the promise that I made from this place when I was designated to form the previous government, which is to achieve a new electoral law and hold elections on time.
At this moment, I extend my hand to all the political components of our country to work together to achieve what all Lebanese aspire to, which is a free, independent and sovereign state, essential services to ensure a decent living and reforms that reduce corruption and stimulate the economy to create jobs.
I will spare no effort in working to form the government as soon as possible, and continue to work to protect the stability of Lebanon and the safety of the Lebanese, within the constants of respecting the Taif Agreement, the Constitution and our democratic system.
We pray to God in this holy month to help us, for the interest of our country and our people. Long live Lebanon.
Question: How long do you expect the process of forming the government to take?
Hariri: I see seriousness and a clear intention from everyone to facilitate the formation of this government, and I think that everyone sees the challenges we face, whether on the economic level or at the regional level. Therefore, we must focus on these issues, and what gathers us is far more than what divides us. It is not important to focus on who makes gains, but what is important is that the governmental work be in the interest of the citizen. President Aoun said important things yesterday about fighting corruption, not just in words, but by everybody working on this.
This is very important for me and Speaker Nabih Berri too, and we have to carry out the reforms that are very important for our economy and for the administrative work in the government and the state. We have to activate the economy.
There are challenges such as the Syrian displacement and others, we made plans, and now we have to implement these plans to face all these challenges.
Question: Is there a veto against the participation of any component in the government?
Hariri: I have only heard about this in the Lebanese media, and this is the first time I hear about this.
Question: Speaker Berri talked about an expanded government. What does he mean?
Hariri: What is important is the entente, like in the previous government I chaired. I will hold consultations and we will see each party’s hopes, then I will hold a press conference.
Question: The Kataeb designated you to be Prime Minister. What is your comment?
Hariri: Yesterday I saw MP Sami Gemayel and saluted him.
Question: Will you open a new page?
Hariri: First, I have not closed any pages with anyone, and am open to everyone. I have stances on some things that you all know. Now there are consultations, we will talk to everyone, we will see what each party wants, and then we will consult together.
Many doubted that the parliamentary elections will take place, and whether we will achieve an electoral law or not, and many questioned the political consensus between the president, Speaker Berri and us, but today is the result of all this. I stress the importance of this issue. We saw how the country could be when we agree together, and that we could solve many things. We are in a burning area, and Lebanon is extinguishing the fire that could have erupted, and the country is developing again as the Lebanese want hopefully. This is what we should think about.
The regional challenges that we will face are very big. Nothing protects us except our unity and our consensus. The more we are united as Lebanese, the more it is impossible for anyone to bring us apart. There will be disagreements between us, but we will solve them between us, within the 10452 square meters, and we have seen what prices that we could pay when we transfer our problems abroad.
Later on, Hariri visited the tomb of his father, Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, in Downtown Beirut, where he prayed for him and his fellow martyrs.
Source: National News Agency