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After a tumultuous week, Aoun is breaking his silence currently addressing the nation (it is now 1:30 PM in Beirut). Here is a live feed:
Today, I am addressing you heart to heart, whether you’re in the demonstrations squares or in your homes.
The scene we’re currently seeing today proves that the Lebanese people are a living people capable of uprising, change, and making their voices heard.
What we’re also seeing proves that freedom of expression is alive and well in Lebanon but sadly, we should not have been seeing this type of expression.
Your yells should have been screams of joy, not pain
From the first day I assumed my responsibilities as President of the Republic, I swore to preserve the constitution and committed myself to fighting corruptio
I was able to take Lebanon to a place of stability and security, with economic matters remaining unsolved.
It was my ambitions to rid Lebanon of its sectarian mindset which have plagued it and are the cause of all its problems, in effort to create a civil state where citizens are ruled by law and only capable individuals reach administrative positions.
You know very well that we are a country of partnership and democracy. The President of the Republic, especially after Taif, requires cooperation from all parties in the Government and the Council of Ministers to achieve plans of action and reform and rescue, and to fulfill the promises made.
I am a president and a responsible official, and I tried to the best of my ability to achieve reform.
But the truth is I faced many obstacles and challenges, with many parties believing that the people no longer have a say.
In regards to returning the looted money, I am asking that it be returned and I proposed a law in 2013 to establish a court that rules on financial crimes.
Everyone who stole from the people should be held accountable. Let us disclose all the accounts of officials and let the courts hold them accountable. Political accountability is legitimate and supervised, and accountability through the judiciary system is possible through our trustworthy judges.
As President of the Republic, I assure you that the proposed reform paper will be implemented, and that it is the first step to save Lebanon and to remove the risk of financial and economic collapse.
In the Parliament are proposed laws that need to be adopted as soon as possible: the establishment of a special court for crimes against public funds, the recovery of looted funds, the lifting of immunity and the lifting of bank secrecy for presidents, ministers, deputies and all those who deal with public funds, current and former.
Because reform is a political act of excellence, it is necessary to reconsider the current state of affairs so that the executive branch can pursue its responsibilities, and of course, through the constitutional principles in place.
Your screams will not go to waste, like the screams of those before you who helped Lebanon gain its independence.
Freedom of expression is a respected and reserved right for all people, but freedom of movement is a right for all citizens that also must be respected and secure.
I invite you all to be the auditors of this reformatory movement.
I heard a lot of calls to overthrow the regime. The regime, young people (ya shabab) cannot be overthrown in the arenas.
It is true our system is in need of reform, but that can only happen through constitutional institutions.
My invitation to the protesters and demonstrators: I am ready to meet with your representatives to hear concerns and demands, and so you can hear from us about our fears of economic collapse. I am waiting.