President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, will participate in tomorrow’s “Second International Conference in Support of Beirut and the Lebanese People”, via video technology, at the invitation of French President, Emmanuel Macron, who will be chairing the meeting, along with UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres. The President will deliver Lebanon’s speech at the Conference, addressing the current economic conditions and difficulties facing the Lebanese at this delicate stage, especially after the Beirut Port explosion and Corona pandemic repercussions.
The main goal of organizing this conference is to evaluate the results of the first meeting which was held last August 9th, to confront the repercussions of the August 4th Beirut Port explosion. Presidents and Prime Ministers of around 35 states which are involved in providing humanitarian aid to Lebanon, will be participating in the scheduled conference.
President Aoun met with European Union Ambassador, Ralph Tarraf, Deputy Special Coordinator of the United Nations in Lebanon, Mrs. Najat Rushdi, and Regional Director of the Levant Department at the World Bank, Mr. Saroj Kumar Jah, today at the Presidential Palace.
The delegation briefed President Aoun on the “Framework for reform and recovery and the reconstruction of Lebanon”, which was prepared by the three parties and estimated at a cost of two billion and five hundred million US Dollars.
Ambassador Tarraf stated that the mentioned framework constitutes an action plan developed in light of the first report presented last August under the title “Damage Assessment and Rapid Needs”, following the Beirut Port explosion and its repercussions. The EU Ambassador also indicated that this framework answers three basic questions: The coordination and consultation mechanism, reforms and priorities, and financing, stating that the framework directly targets the most affected and poorest families.
For her part, Mrs. Rushdi spoke about the most prominent work titles, stating that the Paris Conference will be the beginning of putting this framework into action to avoid any humanitarian crisis in Lebanon, noting the importance of the international community’s interaction with Lebanon and the humanitarian assistance provided, especially in preserving the people’s right to health, education, housing and social care.
On the other hand, Mr. Kumar Jah offered the World Bank’s assistance in the “Framework of reform, recovery and reconstruction”, which includes the Beirut Port and its surroundings, archaeological and heritage sites. Mr. Kumar Jah said that the framework proposes the creation of a new fund to facilitate Lebanon’s financing to achieve reform and development, expected to be launched tomorrow at the Paris Conference, pointing out to work with official bodies, civil society and donors to meet the essential needs of the Lebanese targeted in the action plan. The framework notes the provision of support to five thousand small enterprises, saying that every dollar spent from the fund will be subjected to independent monitoring.
President Aoun’s Reply:
President Aoun thanked the three participating parties, noting that Lebanon is heavily relying on the second international Conference, called for by President Macron and Secretary-General Guterres, especially since the Conference’s work is based on the report issued by the World Bank, European Union and United Nations, to assess losses and needs.
The President also expressed his support for the strategic objectives included in the “Framework of reform, recovery and reconstruction” especially reform, fighting corruption and accountability, informing the delegation that the letter he had sent to the Parliament, and called on MPs to take a clear stance on forensic audit, was supported by the Parliament. The Parliament then issued a decision to subject Central Bank accounts, ministries, independent interests, councils, funds and public institutions, in parallel, to forensic audit without any hindrance or invoking banking secrecy.
Then, President Aoun considered that this audit would enable us to know every Dollar spent, or which will be spent, in Lebanon to achieve the state’s credibility towards the international community, especially donor countries.
Finally, the President welcomed the establishment of a financial fund to reconstruct damages after the Beirut Port explosion, compensate those affected, set priorities for repairing housing, schools, hospitals and provide necessary services to the community.
The meeting was also attended by former Minister, Salim Jreisatti, Presidency Director General, Dr. Antoine Choucair, and Advisers, Mr. Rafic Chelala and Osama Khachab.
Source: National News Agency