President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, pointed out that “What happened in the past few days in front of the gas stations is unacceptable, and the humiliation of citizens is also unacceptable under any consideration. All those concerned, including administrators and security, should work to prevent the recurrence of these practices, especially since a new schedule for the installation of fuel prices was issued today which would ease the impact of the crisis”.
The President also stressed that “Expression of opinion is secured for everyone so that it does not turn into chaos and riots”, noting that road blocking practices have caused great suffering for citizens in addition to what they suffer from as a result of the difficult financial and economic conditions in the country.
“Security apparatuses should not be lenient in dealing with these practices in order to preserve the safety of citizens and public stability, and to protect public and private properties” President Aoun added.
After reviewing the report prepared by the General Directorate of Customs on the status and safety of oil depots on the Lebanese coast, President Aoun called for taking the necessary measures to ensure that they comply with the conditions of public health and safety.
For his part, Prime Minister Dr. Hassan Diab clarified that he understands the situation of the soldier, who is asked to confront those who raise slogans of objection to the living, social and financial conditions. Premier Diab also stated that there is a difference between objection and assault on people, their property and livelihood, and what is happening distorts people’s cry, and wastes their rights.
“Today, we are primarily concerned with addressing this destructive chaos, which increases crises and pressures on the country and on the Lebanese” PM Diab said.
Stances of President Aoun and Prime Minister Diab came during the meeting of the Supreme Defense Council, which was held at 1:00 pm in the Baabda Palace, headed by President Aoun and attended by PM Diab and ministers of: Finance Ghazi Wazny, Interior and Municipalities, Mohamed Fahmy, Economy and Trade Raoul Nehme, Public Works and Transport Michel Najjar, Raymond Ghajar, Energy and Water, and Public Health Hamad Hassan.
Also attending were: Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, Director General of General Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, Internal Security Forces Director General, Major General Imad Othman, Director General of State Security, Major General Tony Saliba, Secretary General of the Supreme Defense Council, Major General Mahmoud Al-Asmar , Acting Governmental Commissioner at the Military Court, Judge Fadi Akiki, Chairman of the Higher Council of Customs, ret. Brigadier General, Assaad Al-Toufaili, Acting Director General of Customs, Raymond Khoury, Director General of Civil Defense Brigadier, Raymond Khattar, Assistant Director General of State Security, Brigadier Samir Sinan, Director of Intelligence, Brigadier General Antoine Kahwajy, Head of the Information Branch in the Internal Security Forces, Brigadier General Khaled Hammoud, Director of Information in the General Directorate of General Security, Brigadier Youssef Al-Medawar, Airport Chief, Fadi Al-Hassan, Director-General of the Presidency of the Republic, Dr. Antoine Choucair, the President’s Security and Military Advisor, retired Brigadier General, Paul Matar.
After the meeting, Major General Al-Asmar read the following statement:
“At the invitation of His Excellency, President of the Republic General Michel Aoun, the Supreme Defense Council convened in a meeting attended by Prime Minister, Dr. Hassan Diab and Ministers of: Finance, Interior, Economy, Public Works, Energy and Public Health.
The Army Commander, heads of the security apparatuses, Customs, Civil Defense, the Governmental Commissioner to the Military Court, and the head of Rafic Hariri International Airport, also attended.
At the beginning of the meeting, His Excellency the President of the Republic indicated that the main purpose of this meeting is to address the security situation in the country, especially as summer season is close, and the tourist season is expected to be promising with the arrival of the Lebanese abroad. His Excellency also said that this necessitates providing the appropriate atmosphere to secure a peaceful and quiet stay for tourists.
His Excellency also pointed out that what happened in the past few days in front of gas stations is unacceptable, and the humiliation of citizens is rejected under any consideration. “All those concerned, including administrations and security, must work to prevent the recurrence of these events, especially since a new schedule for fuel prices was issued today and would reduce the brunt of the crisis” the President said.
In addition, His Excellency the President spoke about the closure of roads and impeding movement, where he pointed out that these practices have caused great sufferings for citizens, in addition to what citizens are already suffering from as a result of the difficult financial and economic conditions in the country.
“The expression of opinion is secured for all, provided that this doesn’t turn into riots and chaos. Security apparatuses must not be negligent in dealing with these events in order to preserve the safety of citizens, public stability and to protect public and private properties” President Aoun added.
Moreover, the President tackled the situation at Rafic Hariri International Airport and pointed to the existence of difficulties, obstructions and crowding, especially during conducting PCR examinations, as well as complaints about the way some employees interact with travelers or those arriving at the airport. “These conditions at the airport cause great harm because the airport is the front of our country and measures must be taken to correct this issue in various fields” the President continue.
The President then referred to the report prepared by the General Directorate of Customs, and submitted it to the General Secretariat of the Higher Defense Council on the status and safety of oil depots on the Lebanese coast. The President called for taking necessary measures to ensure that they comply with the conditions of public health and safety.
Afterwards, the Prime Minister said: “I understand the pressures you are facing during this difficult period in the country. I understand the situation of the soldier who is being tasked to confront those who raise slogans of objection to the current living, social and financial conditions.
This soldier, whether in the Army, ISF, General Security, or State Security, is basically also suffering from these conditions. However, there is a difference between objecting and attacking people, their properties and livelihood. Blocking roads doesn’t express people opinion, blocking roads is against people.
Chaos, breaking cars and attacking the Army are not an expression of objection to the situation. What is happening distorts peoples’ cries and wastes their rights.
What is happening is against people themselves. Therefore, we are primarily concerned today with addressing this destructive chaos which increases crises and pressures on the country and on the Lebanese”.
Afterwards, the Council addressed agenda topics, and took the following decisions:
1. Demanding military and security agencies to maintain necessary readiness to prevent some breaches of security to destabilize the security situation due to financial, economic and living conditions, especially regarding road blocking or encroaching on public and private properties.
2. Requesting Ministries of Public Works and Public Health to take necessary measures to expedite and facilitate the process of conducting PCR tests for travelers arriving at Rafic Hariri International Airport.
3. Requesting the Public Works Ministry, especially the general Directorate of Civil Aviation, to complete necessary procedures to facilitate the movement of passengers and ensure their comfort as soon as possible.
4. Requesting the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, in coordination with the airport security apparatus, to address the problems which occur between passengers, employees and workers, in light of the laws in force, while taking necessary measures against violators.
5. Requesting the Finance Minister to coordinate with the Defense and Interior Ministers to find ways to support the military and security apparatuses, especially in light of the deteriorating financial and economic conditions.
6. Assigning the energy Minister, based on the national strategy for oil installations on the Lebanese coast prepared by the ministry, to draw-up the necessary report within a maximum period of one month to assess the standards and conditions of public health and safety. Accordingly, requesting concerned companies to take the necessary action in accordance with the requirements and time period set by the ministry, and in case companies do not respond, security assistance to implement the necessary will be requested through the General Secretariat of the Supreme Defense Council.
Questions & Answers:
Question: There are roads that were cut off during the council meeting. What are the procedures that will reassure people not to cut off roads?
Answer: “Decisions are clear, and the security and military agencies have been assigned to address the issue”.
Question: How will security support for the Ministry of Finance be given?
Answer: “The Finance Minister is required to coordinate with the Ministers of Interior and Defense to find the most appropriate way”.
Question: Will the security apparatuses be assigned tasks directly related to the living situation?
Answer: “As you have noticed, the General Directorate of State Security were spread yesterday at all stations and obligated those who were closed and who had a quantity of fuel to fill this material for those who needed. Thus, the security services are present and following up”.
Question: Will drug stores that do not deliver their stock also be pursued?
Answer: “If His Excellency the Minister of Health requests support, the security forces are ready”.
Question: Are there security concerns as a result of the situation?
Answer: “The situation is difficult, and it affects everyone, including the security apparatuses, not just a segment of the people. But the security apparatuses are ready to meet all that is required of them to control the security situation”.
Source: National News Agency