Baabda Meeting Urges Leaders to Increase National Political Responsibility
The Presidency media office issued on Tuesday the following statement:
"President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, held a meeting today at Baabda Palace with Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, to discuss the general situation in the country and the most recent developments, on top of which the Israeli threats against the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Lebanon, manifested by Israel's intention to build a concrete wall off the southern border and at points on the "blue line" considered controversial by Lebanon, in addition to the claims made by the Israeli Defense Minister about the ownership of Block 9 in the exclusive economic zone, simultaneously with Lebanon launching the tender for mining and exploration for oil and gas there.
Conferees examined the available data on the dimensions of the Israeli threats and viewed them as a clear violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and a direct threat to the stability that has prevailed in the border area since the implementation of the first phase of the international resolution in August 2006 owing to the efforts of the Lebanese Army, in cooperation with the international forces operating in the south (UNIFIL).
Conferees agreed to continue to act at various regional and international levels so as to prevent Israel from building the concrete wall inside the Lebanese border and from potentially abusing the oil and gas wealth in the Lebanese territorial waters. That [prevention] shall be accomplished through a series of measures that will be presented to the Higher Defense Council at an extraordinary meeting to be held tomorrow (Wednesday), February 7, under the chairmanship of His Excellency the President of the Republic and in the presence of the Prime Minister and concerned Ministers, in addition to security services' chiefs, in order to take appropriate decisions that could prevent the Israeli aggression and spare the border area any potential security deterioration.
Tackling domestic affairs, mainly the developments witnessed at the Lebanese local scene over the past ten days and the reasons behind them, conferees agreed to deal with what happened through constitutional institutions, in accordance with the constitution and the laws and regulations in force. They stressed the need to adhere to the national reconciliation document that the Lebanese sought to maintain their national unity and the unique conviviality formula that distinguishes them, thus allowing no political dispute to threaten the state of civil peace and stability enjoyed by the country, especially as Lebanon is about to participate in international conferences specially organized to help strengthen the country's military and security forces, boost its economy and enable it to cope with the negative consequences that resulted from the influx of Syrian refugees into its territory on the security, economic, health, educational and social levels.
Conferees agreed on the need to activate the work of all constitutional institutions, especially the Parliament and the Cabinet, and to provide a political and security climate appropriate for conducting the parliamentary elections on May 6 in an atmosphere of democracy in which the Lebanese could freely express their opinion that embody a healthy parliamentary representation, especially as the new electoral law based on which the elections will be held is being applied for the first time since the establishment of the Greater State of Lebanon. It was also agreed to work on approving the budget of 2018 as soon as possible.
Conferees called on all Lebanese leaders to overcome differences and raise the political performance to a higher level of national responsibility imposed by the delicacy of this stage in light of the challenges facing Lebanon and which require utmost solidarity to protect the unity of the Lebanese and the safety of the homeland."