President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, asserted that the parliamentary elections will take place, and that all arrangements are being made for this election to take place. The President stressed that he is against the extension of the Parliament, and that he will not remain in Baabda Palace after the end of his presidential term.

In addition, President Aoun emphasized that it is not possible to have a presidential vacancy after the end of his term, because the government is able to assume responsibility even if it is in the stage of caretaking.

Regarding the crisis with some Gulf countries, President Aoun considered it unfair to hold the Lebanese people responsible for what one citizen said, and that work is underway to resolve the crisis, noting that he did not ask Minister George Kordahi to resign, and that the Minister of Information “understood what he should do in the interest of the country”.

On the other hand, President Aoun considered that forensic audit should not be preempted to say whether the governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, was corrupt or not, but the governor bears responsibility for monetary policy.

President Aoun's stances came during a television interview conducted with, Hassan Jammoul, on the "Special Meeting" program for the Qatari "Al-Jazeera" channel this afternoon at his residence in Doha.

During the interview, President Aoun pointed out that his visit to Doha is to participate in the opening of the Arab Football Cup, but when it comes to Lebanon, it is about its problems, which are many.

“We thanked His Highness the Prince for his permanent presence in Lebanon when the country needed it, especially after the recent explosion of the Port of Beirut. Qatar was also present after the 2006 war, as well as in the development, restoration and other projects that it contributed to in Lebanon and had white hands in this. We also talked about many of the accumulated crises that Lebanon suffers from, and we reviewed the general situation. We welcome all help from Qatar in this field” the President said.

The crisis with some Gulf countries:

President Aoun was asked about the upcoming visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar to Lebanon, where he confirmed that the visit was discussed between His Highness the Emir and Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and it is normal that the topic of discussion is to review the situation and contribute to resolving outstanding issues, and "We have good relations with Qatar”.

President Aoun answered a question about the crisis with some Gulf countries, and stressed that the issue was also raised during the meeting between him and the Emir of the State of Qatar. The crisis is known in its details, and matters will be announced in due course. The President also revealed that there are proposals for a solution, but they have not yet been presented, and “We must distinguish whether the solution depends on Lebanon or on a person. Yet it is unfair to blame the entire Lebanese people, fir what one person did”.

In response to a question, President Aoun clarified that he did not ask Minister George Kordahi to resign, and “This is a matter that he bears responsibility on, and will act on this basis, which is an understanding of what he should do in the interest of the country. We, on our part, seek to resolve matters”.

Hezbollah's role:

When asked about Hezbollah’s role in the crisis with the Gulf states, President Aoun replied that Hezbollah represents a third of the Lebanese people, and “Since my election in 2016 until today, it has adhered to Resolution 1701 and has not issued any defect in this context, nor has it made any mistake on Lebanese territory. Hezbollah is not responsible for any security incident in Lebanon, which means that they are committed to the Lebanese laws in Lebanon, and they have not been exposed to any person who entered Lebanese territory, whether a citizen of the countries that classified the party as a terrorist or not. Therefore, security is available to every person who enters Lebanon. Nothing was asked of the Lebanese state to do against Hezbollah, and we are ready to discuss any demand, provided that it does not lead to the bombing of the country or to a military confrontation or civil war”.

The President also reiterated Lebanon's desire to establish the best relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Gulf states, and "We will not allow aggression against them or their citizens. Before this tension occurred, one of the news programs presenters was dismissed because he spoke incorrectly, so he was dismissed because he did not correct the guest's words. Also, the former Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe was a guest on the "Al-Hurra" channel, and the other guest was a Saudi journalist, who cursed me and no action was taken against him for insults, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs was even asked to do the necessary, and he asked to be relieved of his duties”.

Government:

With regard to the reasons for disrupting the government's meeting and ways to solve it, President Aoun pointed to the principle of the separation of powers (executive, legislative and judicial), and that each authority must address any error that occurs within it. “Consequently, the Council of Ministers must meet, but that did not happen due to an internal problem. I do not support any position taken because the Council of Ministers has not convened, and I, as President of the Republic, cannot be a party with one party against another, but matters must be distinguished and strive to solve problems."

Regarding Hezbollah’s request to remove Judge Tariq Al-Bitar, President Aoun announced his disagreement with the party’s opinion in this regard, and that a solution to this problem must be reached, considering that what took place in the tripartite meeting that gathered him and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Premier Mikati in Baabda Palace on the anniversary of independence. “It is a private matter and should not be published publicly” President Aoun said, promising that this issue would be resolved.

BDL Governor:

In response to a question about the fate of Arab and international funds that had arrived in Lebanon over the years, President Aoun clarified that “The matter is mismanagement or other reasons, and it must be determined after the forensic audit that I imposed and, former Prime Minister Hassan Diab and the Council of Ministers agreed about”.

Regarding the audit company’s complaint that it did not obtain the required information, President Aoun pointed out that this matter has been addressed, and that the Banque du Liban is subject to criminal scrutiny, and “I cannot anticipate the results of the investigation and say that the Governor of the Banque du Liban is corrupt or not, and the investigation must determine the responsibilities and the reasons for Lebanon’s arrival to this huge financial crisis”.

The President also denied what was said about the inability to touch Governor Salame because he is supported by the United States, "If the United States wants to intervene to protect him, let the US compensate us for the lost money, as the Governor bears responsibility for monetary policy”.

Moreover, President Aoun considered that Hezbollah's statement that the entire judiciary is politicized and protects one another is the party's opinion, and "I, as President of the Republic, have reservations about everything that is said and must be scrutinized before I take a position”.

Finally, President Aoun affirmed that negotiations with the International Monetary Fund are ongoing, despite all the internal problems, and despite the fact that the government has not convened, the ministerial committees charged with negotiating with the Fund are still doing their work.

Border demarcation and elections:

Regarding the issue of demarcation of the maritime borders, President Aoun explained that the issue is still in the indirect negotiation stage with Israel, and “Lebanon has specific borders according to a letter to the United Nations, and the committee proposed changing the border line and negotiating it. Negotiations prevents any party from defining its borders unilaterally. And my signature on the new decree is linked to another event”.

In response to a question about the holding of the parliamentary elections and what is said about the extension of the parliament mandate and the President, confirmed that the parliamentary elections are being held and that arrangements are being made, “It is surprising at the same time that some extended it without my knowledge”. The President also considered that what is said about his quest for an extension comes in the context of "judging through intentions", which is the most dangerous thing we can witness in the media, whereby a person is given intentions that he does not have. President Aoun explained that what he said about not handing Lebanon over to vacancy means that in the event of a vacancy, there is a government that takes over responsibility even if it is in the caretaker stage, and in the absence of the government there is a parliament that can form a government, and therefore there cannot be a vacancy because there is who fills it. “I did not mean that I would remain in my position after the end of my term” President Aoun assured.

Asked about the extension of the parliament mandate, President Aoun stated that he would oppose that, and that in the event the parliament is extended, it is up to the parliament to decide whether the president will stay in Baabda Palace or not. “I will leave when my term ends, unless the House of Representatives has another word, and this matter is possible, but it is not desirable or planned” President Aoun said.

As for the reasons that led to the situation in Lebanon reaching what it is currently in, President Aoun explained that there were previous accumulations. “I reached the position of the presidency and inherited a great legacy of debt that exceeds 158 billion dollars. Economically, due to the war in Syria and hostility with Israel, in addition to the displacement of more than one million and 850 thousand displaced people from Syria, which cost Lebanon about 3 to 4 billion dollars, and the demonstrations that took place led to an increase in economic problems due to the closure of roads and others, and then an epidemic spread Corona, and the explosion of the port of Beirut, all of these things hit the Lebanese economy, while debts were a heavy legacy as a result of wrong policies and the adoption of a rentier economy instead of a productive one” President Aoun indicated.

When asked whether he regretted his quest for the presidency, President Aoun replied: "I am an optimistic man, and I have faced crises throughout my life, and when I take charge, I do not run away, but I follow it to the end, and my responsibility ends on October 31, 2022. I was also exposed with many of my supporters to political assassination.

I and the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, Gibran Bassil, are accused for all the problems that are taking place, whatever their kind. And to say that I am trying to get Gibran Bassil to the presidency is a judgment on intentions.

I do not lead the country on the basis that I am working for Bassil to reach the presidency, even though he has the right, like others, to run for this position. Of course, I will not be disturbed if he reaches the presidency, but I, as President of the Republic, have not influenced any of the authorities that work in the Lebanese Republic for this”.

On the other hand, the President pointed out that he was not the one who said that "Whoever will succeed me in the presidency will not be the same as before me. But that this came in the context of a press article”.

Source: National News Agency