Aoun convenes with Kaag and ministers, confirms plan to enhance Lebanon

Mon 16 Jan 2017 at 16:58 Politics
NNA - President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, convened at Baabda Palace on Monday with the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag and Deputy UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Philippe Lazzarini, whereby the President lauded the support the country is being granted from UN organizations.

Aoun confirmed continued cooperation with said organizations, highlighting in particular the collaboration between the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the UNIFIL, which resulted in bolstering stability in south of the country.

"The international aid for Lebanon coincides with the efforts exerted by the Lebanese State to reinforce security and stability, and launch a comprehensive plan for Lebanon's advancement," said Aoun, noting that such a plan has become possible now that Constitutional institutions have regained their effective role.

In turn, Kaag relayed to the President the warm regards of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. She then discussed the priorities set by the UN for its work in Lebanon, which were similar to the content of the inaugural speech and ministerial statement.

Kaag pointed out to the international community's aid for the LAF so that the military institution could carry out its national duties.

"The solid partnership between Lebanon and the UN for the past seven decades will certainly continue," said Kaag.

"We fully support the new Cabinet, and we endorse the application of resolution 1701 and preservation of Lebanon's stability. We also discussed possible high profile meetings in the future for further international support for Lebanon," Kaag told the press after the meeting, promising that the UN would always endeavor to help Lebanon regain its luster, vivaciousness and dynamism.

Separately, Aoun met with Minister of Industry, Hussein Hajj Hassan, who came along a delegation of industrialists, and stated that his ministry's main objective was creating industrial zones.

The delegation discussed with the President a vision for Lebanon's industry that could increase revenue by millions of dollars. The industrialists hoped that Aoun would grant his support to their plan.

Hajj Hassan said that measures could be taken to encourage industry, such as tax exemptions for industrial equipment and raw material.

"The weakness of Lebanon's economy is attributed to political decisions," said the Minister.

The President asserted the need to preserve industry. He confirmed that his efforts were directed towards supporting the enhancement of industry, tourism and agriculture. Such an improvement could only begin with bettering the infrastructure, and went all the way up to mending prices.

"New financial measures will be taken soon," said the President, "there will be no increase in taxes, but an enhancement of revenue by limiting tax evasion," concluded Aoun.

Among Baabda visitors today were Culture Minister, Ghattas Khoury, who discussed with Aoun the reopening of the national library.

Said library was under reconstruction and renovation with the support of a grant from Qatar. The Prince of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, relayed to Aoun during the President's recent visit that the rest of the grant would be made available to conclude work on the library.

President Aoun also met with Bishop Boulos Matar and a delegation of financial public prosecutors. Aoun insisted that the judiciary be both fair and stern, as it could play a pivotal role in eradicating corruption.


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