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Inaugural address of his excellency General Michel Aoun President of the republic of Lebanon
Inaugural address of his excellency General Michel Aoun President of the republic of Lebanon
31/10/2016

INAUGURAL ADDRESS

Of

HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL MICHEL AOUN
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LEBANON

 
OCTOBER 31, 2016 

LEBANESE PARLIAMENT
 

Your Excellency the Speaker of Parliament,
Your Excellency the Prime Minister,
Honorable Members of Parliament and Ministers,
Honorable heads and members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Fellow Lebanese ladies and gentlemen,

I had undertaken to content myself with the oath if I were to be elected President of the Republic, especially that the oath of loyalty to the nation, literally stated by the Constitution, is an imperative commitment for the President of the Republic alone among the heads of the constitutional authorities in the State, and it bears all the meanings, significations and obligations.
Nevertheless, the prolonged political dysfunction and the long vacancy in the Presidency, urged me to directly address, through you, the great people of Lebanon who were always there for me, and have been the strong fortress to which I resorted for the crucial commitments and critical choices.
The man who speaks before you today is the President of the Republic in whom you – House and people – have placed your trust, to assume the responsibility of the highest position in the State; a President who has come from a long path of struggle which was filled with national responsibilities, whether in the military institution in which he grew and whose command he held, or in the exercise of public authority by constitutional mandate, or in the public service by popular mandate; a President who has come in difficult times, and on whom high hopes are placed to overcome difficulties, and not merely adapt to them, and to ensure the stability that the Lebanese long for, so that their greatest dreams are no longer confined to a travel bag.
The first step towards the desired stability goes through political stability. This can only be achieved by the respect of the National Pact, the Constitution and the Laws, though the national partnership which constitutes the essence of our system and the uniqueness of our entity. In this respect, comes the necessity to implement the National Entente Document, integrally, without any selectivity or discretion, and to develop it according to the needs, through a national consensus. Indeed, it is, in one part, a constitution, and in another part, binding national commitments. It cannot therefore be implemented partially, otherwise it shall become pale and weak, no system or regime shall stand tall under it, and no legitimacy for any authority shall arise from it.
The uniqueness of Lebanon lies in its pluralistic and balanced society, and this uniqueness consists in living the spirit of the Constitution, through effective equal-sharing of power. The first of its obligations is to adopt an electoral law that ensures fair representation, prior to the next elections.
As for security, the first of its pillars is national unity. We are all aware of the challenges that fall on us unexpectedly, and the need to address them relentlessly, with our unity and openness to one another, and the acceptance of the other’s opinions and beliefs. This is how we preserve the pillars of our strength, and how we fill the gaps from which may leak the poisons of strife, fragmentation, tension and chaos.
Lebanon, that steps between mines, is still immune to the flames raging around it in the region. Preventing the spill of any spark to it remains a top priority. It is therefore necessary to dissociate Lebanon from external conflicts, while remaining committed to the Charter of the League of Arab States, and in particular article 8 thereof, and adopting an independent foreign policy based on Lebanon’s higher interest and the respect of international law, in view of safeguarding the country as an oasis of peace, stability and encounter.
As for the conflict with Israel, we shall spare no effort and no resistance to liberate the remaining occupied Lebanese territories, and protect our country from an enemy which still covets our land, water and natural resources.
We shall counter terrorism by adopting pre-emptive, deterrent, and defensive measures until we defeat it. We also have to tackle the issue of the Syrian Refugees by ensuring their quick return, striving to prevent the transformation of the refugee camps and agglomerations into safe havens for terrorist activities. This has to be achieved in a responsible fashion in cooperation with the concerned States and authorities, with the United Nations, of which Lebanon was a co-founder and to whose charters it is committed in the preamble of its Constitution; while affirming that there cannot be a solution in Syria that does not guarantee and begin with the return of the refugees. As for the issue of the Palestinian refugees, we will always strive to consolidate and implement their Right of Return.
Stability at the level of security can only be reached through full coordination between security and judicial institutions. Indeed, security and justice are linked with complementary tasks, and it is the duty of the regime to free them from political dependence, as it must curb their excesses so that citizens feel reassured about their performance and for the State to recover its authority and prestige.
Strengthening the Lebanese Army and the development of its capabilities shall be my primary concern and priority, in order to enable our armed forces to deter all kinds of aggressions against our country, and to become a guard for its land, a protector for its independence and a keeper of its sovereignty. 
As far as economic and social stability is concerned, the economic, social, financial, developmental, health, environment and educational situation is subject to consecutive, rather continuous, crises, for many external and internal causes. While the external causes are out of our control and we can only limit their repercussions, the internal causes compel us to tackle them with a transformational approach which begins with an economic reform based on planning and coordination between the ministries and computerization in the various State administrations. We cannot go on without a comprehensive economic plan based on sectorial plans. Indeed, the State without planning cannot stand tall, and the State without a civil society cannot be built.   
Investing natural resources in productive projects lays the foundations for the increase of the volume of a liberal economy based on individual entrepreneurship and a partnership between the private and public sectors, within a targeted and developed financial vision.
Moreover, investing in human resources, particularly in the educational and cultural sector, contributes to building reliable generations to guarantee the future of the Lebanon we all long for. In fact, the main wealth of Lebanon lies in the Lebanese Diaspora spread throughout the world, those Lebanese to whom we owe the continuity and dissemination of Lebanon’s message, as well as the resident Lebanese who are entitled to live in a sound political environment and a clean natural environment.
Administrative decentralization, with its combination of flexibility and dynamism in providing people’s needs and services, while preserving its specificity within the formula of coexistence, must be a main axis, not only in application of the National Entente Document or in harmony with the nature of Lebanon, but also in line with the development of political regimes throughout the world.
This socioeconomic reform can only succeed with the consecration of a transparency system by embracing the legal system that helps prevent corruption, by appointing an anti-corruption committee, and by activating control bodies and enabling them to carry out all their duties.
The most important point remains that the Lebanese have faith in each other and in their State, a State that should be their protector, the provider of their rights and needs, and the President of the Republic the guarantor of safety and peace.
These are the guiding principles of a Presidential term during which I truly hope that a paradigm shift will be achieved in consecrating real national partnership at various levels of the State and constitutional authorities, in launching an economic reinvigoration that would reverse the downward track, and in watching over the soundness of the judiciary and the justice, which will pave the way for the rise of the State of Citizenship, after each of its components would have felt reassurance about their present, about their future and about the fate of Lebanon.
It is true that we were late in fulfilling what we dreamt of and struggled for, and for which many of our dear fellows were displaced in the four corners of the globe, and many of our loved ones fell as martyrs, wounded, prisoners and missing. Nevertheless, I am confident that all the Lebanese people, despite their awareness that the road is hard and long, have the determination, will and courage to achieve together what we vowed our life for, a Strong and unified Lebanon for all its citizens, a Lebanon of freedom and dignity, a Lebanon of sovereignty and independence, a Lebanon of stability and prosperity; Lebanon, the Pact; and Lebanon, the message.
His Excellency General Michel Aoun
The President of the Republic of Lebanon