Aoun: Demarcation agreement will not lead to peace with 'Israel'
Lebanese President Michel Aoun asserts that the maritime border deal was the outcome of national interests and stability and is in no way an indication of peace with "Israel".
Lebanese President Michel Aoun told LBC broadcaster that Lebanon "demarcated the borders to avert war," adding that "the maritime deal was the outcome of national interests and stability" and is in no way an indication of peace with "Israel".
He further added, "We claimed our right to demarcate and amplified it, and we consolidated it, thus giving hope to the Lebanese people."
"The demarcation will lay the ground for the extraction of gas and oil which will lift Lebanon out of debt, and this is my gift to the Lebanese before I leave."
Aoun noted that "there are no papers, signatures, or anything else in the process of signing the demarcation agreement that could indicate a peace agreement [was made]."
The Lebanese President pointed out that "the money that will be generated from oil companies will be deposited in the Sovereign Fund for Oil and Gas Revenues."
There's a good reason for Hezbollah's arms to remain
Commenting on his relations with Hezbollah, Aoun said the party's Secretary-General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, "has two eyes, as we all do, but each of us sees things differently... when it comes to responsibilities, each of us is tasked with certain jobs.”
Aoun added that "Hezbollah helped us quietly," stressing that "there is a good reason for Hezbollah's arms to remain, and those who question this are political opponents."
Commenting on the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, Gibran Bassil, Aoun said Bassil "has become the head of a bloc and I am not his guardian. Even if he makes mistakes, he is the one to assume consequences, not me. His powers are not mine," noting that he had previously requested "a change of the governor of the Banque du Liban, but he did not receive approval."
On signing a decree accepting the government's resignation
Aoun also confirmed that he was on the verge of signing a decree accepting the government's resignation, noting that "fighting corruption has brought him many enemies along the way."
On government matters, Aoun said, "The current government does not enjoy the confidence of the people and thus cannot rule," adding that Prime Minister Najib Mikati "has no will to form a government and there must be unity in terms of the formation criteria."
"I will give a chance until the end of my term," Aoun said.
Aoun explained that "it is a big mistake not to determine the deadline for the prime minister in charge of forming the government to actually do the formation," noting that "dialogue on the presidential issue will fail, but relevant consultations may actually lead somewhere."
Concerning the issue of Syrian refugees, Aoun pointed out that his country "demanded the voluntary return of the displaced Syrians, and Syria did not set any conditions for their return," adding that "the international community wants Lebanon to be a ship guard to prevent displaced Syrians from traveling to their countries, while at the same time they stand in the way of their return home."