There is a threat to the French initiative...

BASSIL: We support the culture of achievement, we will be facilitators to the government formation

"... there can be no way out of the crisis except through political reform ..." Strong Lebanon parliamentary bloc leader Gebran Bassil

There is a threat to the French initiative..." Gebran Bassil

Bassil: We support the culture of achievement, we will be facilitators to the government formation

13 Sep 2020

(See translation in Arabic section)

Lebanon - "Strong Lebanon" Parliamentary Bloc Head, MP Gebran Bassil, expressed his bloc's support for the culture of achievement and accomplishment, away from the culture of obstruction and sabotage, stressing on facilitating the new government formation.

In a press conference he held earlier today, Bassil touched on the developments that have occurred forty days after the tragic Beirut port explosion, from the demarcation of borders to the French initiative and the neutrality issue.

Over the French initiative, Bassil emphasized that his bloc and the 'Free Patriotic Movement' are keen on ensuring its success, while at the same time fearing its failure. "We are careful, not because France is a friendly country to Lebanon and not because President Macron has shown all devotion, sympathy and enthusiasm. The reason for our caution is because this initiative, with the commitments it contains, is the logical and practical solution available today for the salvation of Lebanon, and we are with this solution in its broad outlines because it represents our conviction and our demands," said Bassil.

He added: "From the standpoint of actual sovereignty and our national choices, we accepted the French endeavor, first because it is focused on a specific reform program, and secondly because the priority is to get out of the financial and economic crisis without the introduction of political elements, such as the arms issue and elections due to the differences over them that would impede reform."

Criticizing the internal sides for attempting to thwart the French initiative under various pretexts, at a time when the Lebanese are demanding it for the sake of rescuing their homeland and economy, Bassil said, "There is a threat to the French initiative by those who reject it under the pretext of sovereignty, or those who seek power and to impose a government and a project on all the Lebanese in the name of France. We consider that the initiative is a product of Lebanon's need and achieves its salvation and stability, especially since it meets the Lebanese's demands for reform. That is why we were among those who presented supportive notions to it because it was consistent with our ideas and was mainly included in our own salvation initiative," he underscored.

"Our rescue initiative emerged from our conviction that there can be no way out of the crisis except through political reform of the system and a financial and economic reform of the existing model, and this means undertaking a major change process in a gradual manner," he corroborated.

"The development of the system can take place through establishing a complete civil state based on decentralization, and an advancement process that is divided into seven axes, namely addressing constitutional gaps, completing the Taif implementation, establishing a Senate with its powers and its election law, the House of Representatives and its election law, approving decentralization and its election law, approving the expanded administrative and financial decentralization law, as well as the adoption of a unified personal status law, balanced development of regions and the proper service of citizens through the Trust Fund and the State Assets Management Company," outlined Bassil.

 Recapturing the content of the French initiative, the MP referred to the formation of a "gouvernement de mission" i.e. a government with a mission, namely to implement the reform program in preparation for the international donor conference in France. "What interests us is the implementation of the mission, which is reform," emphasized Bassil, "and to be a productive, efficient and reformist government."

"We are not participating, but we will assist the government in achieving reform, and aid it from the parliament," he maintained, while pointing to the issue of rotation in ministries and stressing that the Constitution is clear about not devoting a certain ministry to a particular sect.

 Touching on the issue of neutrality, Bassil deemed it "positive for Lebanon but requires dialogue and internal understanding, regional embrace and international sponsorship."

 On the border demarcation issue, he considered it "something we can agree upon as Lebanese within the framework of preserving our rights and our sovereignty to secure the interest of our country."

 "We are talking about completing the demarcation of the Blue Line by land at the obstruction points, and about completing the demarcation by sea, starting from 1701 under the auspices of the United Nations and UNIFIL and mediated by the United States," he went on. "Here we are dealing with two issues: Lebanon's rights and interests, and there is no discussion over Lebanon's rights and the preservation of its sovereignty and resources. As for its interests, it is the subject of our discussion between one another, and I am one of those who see the full interest of Lebanon in finalizing the border dossier on the basis of a fair demarcation," highlighted Bassil.

He indicated that border demarcation will solve one of the pending problems with Israel and restore to Lebanon some of its rights without any concessions, and will also enhance stability in the South, by land and sea, and will encourage and accelerate the process of exploration and extraction of gas and oil in the Lebanese sea, which is a great doorway to reviving our economy and altering its downward path.


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