Friday, November 27
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The President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, expressed his hope that Spain would play an important role in the European Union and other international forums to support and help Lebanon in the difficult circumstances it is going through, stressing that work is based on forming a new Government which faces the challenges ahead at various levels.

The President’s stances came while receiving the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Mrs. Arancha Gonzales Laya, who conveyed President Aoun’s greetings to the Spanish King, Philippi VI and the Spanish Government for the support received  by Lebanon after the recent Beirut Port Explosion, and for the participation of the Spanish Prime Minister in the Paris Conference in support of Beirut and the Lebanese.

The President also thanked the Spanish Minister for the humanitarian aid sent from Madrid to Lebanon, especially the project to reform a school in Karantina region and establish a temporary school to accommodate students during the restoration processes.

President Aoun then praised the participation of the Spanish forces in the framework of UNIFIL in the South, pointing out that Lebanon looks forward to the visit of Spanish Premier, Pedro Sanchez to Beirut, next November.

The President of the Republic also welcomed Spain’s invitation to an international conference  Barcelona on the 27th of November to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration, and hoped that the development projects funded by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID) would increase.

In addition, President Aoun discussed the current Lebanese situation, with the Spanish Minister, and the crises which the country suffers from, especially the ones which began after the Syrian war caused by the displacement of around one million and 500 thousand Syrians to Lebanon and the repercussions this migration had on Lebanese sectors, in addition to the cost incurred by the Lebanese state which has exceeded 45 Billion US Dollars.

“Government formation will take place during the coming days, after the Lebanese parties reach an consensus agreement on it, and the reforms that must be adopted to emerge the difficult economic conditions that the country is currently suffering from” the President continued, asserting that these reforms are essential. The President focused on the role of Spain and Europe in helping Lebanese through the Lebanese-European existing cooperation.

Afterwards, President Aoun pointed out that fighting corruption is one of the priorities at the present time, and an important Government should be formed which takes care of these priorities.

The Spanish minister had conveyed, to President Aoun, the greetings from the Spanish monarch, King Felipe VI and the head of the Spanish Government, noting that her country is following with interest the situation in Lebanon and is in constant contact with the Lebanese Government for coordination, noting that the upcoming visit of the Spanish Prime Minister to Beirut next month falls within the framework of the desire for assistance, support and cooperation.

Minister Laya also expressed her country’s readiness to support Lebanon in the reform directions that it intends to adopt, and to cooperate with the International Monetary Fund and in any field that Lebanon deems to be to advance its economy. She stressed the depth of friendship linking her country with Lebanon and the constant interest in achieving stability, security and prosperity in it, in addition to enabling it to overcome the current difficult circumstances. Minister Laya stated that Spain would stand by Lebanon and provide it with the required support in all fields, calling for the implementation of necessary reforms according to the Lebanese will.

On the Spanish side, the meeting was attended by: Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon, Jose Maria Ferre, the Director of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID), Magdy Esteban Martinez Soliman, diplomats Eva Martinez, Monica Prado Rodriguez, and Victor Portino Angolo.

On the Lebanese side: former Minister Salim Jreisatti, the Director General of the Presidency of the Republic, Dr. Antoine Choucair, and advisors Rafic Chelala and Osama Khashab attended.


Source: National News Agency

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