NNA - The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri deplored the populist logic adopted by some in dealing with the garbage file, pointing out that this is not the way to solve this problem.
He said: "We are all concerned and all regions should cooperate and tolerate each other," adding that the government will work hard in the coming days.
Hariri said that the government will work with the concerned ministers to facilitate the travel of citizens from and to Rafic Hariri International Airport and will take all the necessary measures to achieve this goal.
Hariri’s words came as he inspected the progress of the expansion works in Rafic Hariri International Airport, which are expected to be completed in two weeks.
He made the tour shortly after arriving to Beirut coming from the United States.
The Ministers of Information Jamal Jarrah, Public Works and Transport Youssef Fenianos, Tourism Avedis Guidanian, Economy Mansour Bteish, and Interior Rayya al-Hassan, the Chairman of the public works parliamentary committee Nazih Najm, former MP Ghazi Youssef, the Director General of Civil Aviation Mohamad Chehabeddine, the Director General of the Internal Security Forces Major General Imad Osman, the Chairman of Middle East Airlines Mohamed Al Hout, the Head of the Airport Fadi Al Hassan, the Chairman of the High Relief Committee Major General Mohamed Kheir, the Airport Security Commander Brigadier Georges Doumit, the Head of General Security at the Airport Brigadier General Walid Aoun, the Commander of the Internal Security Forces at the airport Colonel Ali Taha, the Head of the Customs Authority at the Airport Samer Dia, the Vice President of the airport Yousef Tannous, Hariri’s advisor Fadi Fawaz, Marwan Kobrosli of Dar Al Handasah, in addition to administrative and security officials at the airport accompanied him.
Hariri, the Ministers and the airport officials inspected the ongoing work and the new procedures taken to facilitate movement in the airport.
After that, Hariri held a press conference at the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, where he said: "I wanted to inspect the expansion works to facilitate the entry and exit of travelers. We have been working on this for a while and I know that the travelers using Rafic Hariri Airport are suffering from this problem. I also wanted to inspect the progress made at the inspection points. We, as a government still have a lot to do, whether the ministry of public works, the ministry of interior and all the concerned ministries, so that the traveler can use the airport more easily. Unfortunately there was a delay that resulted in losses. We must spend money on the airport, which brings us a large income, especially in the field of maintenance. We must work to develop the airport in light of the expected increase in the number of passengers. I thank all the concerned ministers for the work they are doing, and I urge them to do more because the Lebanese citizen will hold us accountable and we have to respect his opinion and provide his needs. The government will work hard in the coming days, Things are back to normal and even better."
Question: After your meetings with American officials, are there US sanctions on people close to Hezbollah, especially Christian ministers?
Hariri: First, I am not the one who determines the US sanctions. These are some of the accusations I have been hearing of since the beginning but I do not think this will happen. The US administration is very clear in its approach to this issue, and the sanctions it imposes on some states, figures, institutions or associations are clear. Is Lebanon targeted? We have a very good relation with the US Treasury Department and we are following it closely. I went there and so did the Association of Banks and a parliamentary delegation. Everyone followed up this issue and I think it will not happen, but I cannot confirm it.
Question: There will be a new ranking for Lebanon on the 23rd of this month. Is there a fear of downgrading Lebanon’s raking?
Hariri: We have been working on the subject of ranking for some time, whether me personally, or the President, the Minister of Finance or the Minister of Economy. I think we did a good job. The figures of the 2019 budget were good and now we are working to finish the 2020 budget within the constitutional deadlines. This gives the impression to the international financial institutions that Lebanon is serious. Our problem in the past was that we said something and did another. But now we are showing the institutions that what we carry out our promises, whether in the laws, budgets or the figures we want to reach. So I hope things will be positive.
Question: What is your response to the negative campaign on the positive results of your visit to Washington?
Hariri: This is normal in Lebanon and anyone who does a positive thing is met with negativity.
Question: Were your statements on Walid Jumblatt misinterpreted and did you announce a new position in Washington?
Hariri: I want to be clear on this issue. Anyone who touches any political party touches us. The question was: Is there a physical threat on Walid Jumblatt and I said that anyone who threatens him personally and physically threatens us all as political parties. I think that any politician would give the same answer to this question.
Question: Did you smell the garbage when you arrived at Beirut airport and is there a solution to the waste crisis?
Hariri: First this is the smell of the Ghadir station, and we are establishing a station there. This is known by all the Lebanese. I talked in the United States about the issue of waste. I will say it clearly: The Muslim is not ready to accept the waste of the Christian and vice versa. Isn’t this a racist logic? You in the media should make awareness campaigns. Everyone is being populist. All the Lebanese, whether Christians or Muslims, are concerned and all regions should cooperate and help each other. Are we supposed to build an electricity plant for Sunnis, another one for Shiites and another one for Maronites? We should be ashamed of the way we are dealing with this issue.
To go back to the airport issue, there is a new system that is being put so the airport can become like the airports of Europe and the countries you visit. When these systems are installed, those working on these systems should be trained to work on them and this needs time. Unfortunately there were political disputes but now these disputes ended and we will continue the work. We must speed up the work and this is why I came to the airport to follow up this issue personally. -------PM Press Office