Aoun Says Government to be Guided by His Oath of Office

President Michel Aoun announced Thursday that the new government will be guided by the presidential oath of office, a day after the 30-member Cabinet held its first meeting and devised a panel to devise its policy statement.

“It is necessary to respect the laws and not to violate them… and the government will work according to the oath of office to achieve that,” Aoun told his visitors at the Baabda Palace.

“Lebanon went through a very difficult period but what’s coming is more difficult, not at the security level but rather in terms of reform and change in state institutions,” the president added, noting that “the State needs renewal.”

Aoun’s election as president 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 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 and has struggled to deal with an influx of more than a million Syrian refugees.

In addition to pledges of economic growth and security, Aoun said in his oath of office 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.”