Aoun ‘Determined to Solve Problems Facing Lebanese’, Vows to Build ‘Strong State’

President Michel Aoun has stressed that he is “determined to confront the problems that the Lebanese are facing.”

“With the beginning of the year 2017, we are determined to confront the problems that the Lebanese are facing and to start solving them,” Aoun said in an interview with ad-Diyar newspaper.

“Inspection authorities, the judiciary and all state institutions will work away from politics and we will try to build a strong state that serves the interest of the Lebanese people,” he added.

“The most important point that I want to tell the Lebanese with the beginning of the year 2017 is that we will fulfill what we have promised them,” the president pledged.

Aoun’s election after two and a half years of presidential void and Saad Hariri’s appointment as premier have raised hopes that Lebanon can begin tackling challenges including a stagnant economy, a moribund political class and the influx of more than a million Syrian refugees.

Analysts have however warned that Aoun’s election will not be a “magic wand” for Lebanon, which has seen longstanding political divisions exacerbated by the war in neighboring Syria.

In addition to pledges of economic growth and security, Aoun said in his oath of office last month that Lebanon must work to ensure Syrian refugees “can return quickly” to their country.

Aoun also pledged to endorse an “independent foreign policy” and to protect Lebanon from “the fires burning across the region.”