President Aoun attends the 17th Summit of Francophonie in Armenia

Armenia hosted the international summit of the French-speaking world. The two-day meeting has attracted many world leaders, including the Lebanese President Michel Aoun, the French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The final session of the summit, which included the election of a new secretary-general of the Francophone Organization, the Rwandan Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister, Louise Moshikiwabo, and approved a number of items related to Lebanon, stressing “support for its stability” and calling on its partners to provide the necessary financial and economic support for it, so as to strengthen its economic flexibility and institutional capacity.”

President Michel Aoun delivered his speech in French, and assured that Lebanon is working towards stability, but it is weighed down by ‘neighborhood crises.
Conferees considered that “the only permanent solution for the displaced and the Syrian refugees in Lebanon is their safe and dignified return to their country, and thus finding the right conditions for such a return, while respecting the sovereignty and Constitution of Lebanon and the relevant international laws.”

This is President Aoun’s entire speech:
“We reaffirm our commitment to the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Lebanon, based on Security Council Resolution 1701, and applaud the efforts to form a new government in the country with a view to strengthening its constitutional institutions and the human values that characterize it, especially tolerance, coexistence and religious, cultural and political diversity. We support all the initiatives in this regard.

We affirm the support of the stability of Lebanon which, in light of the escalating crises in the region, adopts and promotes a concrete policy of dissociation. We call on the concerned parties to respect the commitments made at the international conferences of donor countries, particularly at the Economic Conference for the Development of Lebanon through reforms and investments, which took place on April 6, 2018 in Paris. We also call upon the partners of Lebanon, in view of the structural reforms undertaken by the Lebanese authorities, to provide financial and economic support necessary to strengthen Lebanon’s economic and institutional resilience.

We reiterate our deep concern at the repercussions of the massive influx of more than 1.5 million Syrians into Lebanon, including one million registered by the UNHCR. When this number is added to the high number of Palestinian refugees registered in or who have been in Lebanon since 1948, this constitutes about half the population of Lebanon and makes it the country that hosts the largest number of refugees and displaced persons in the world, relatively to its population and surface. We believe that the only lasting solution to the Syrian refugees and displaced in Lebanon is their safe and dignified return to their country. We stress the need to create the conditions for such return within the framework of respect for the sovereignty and constitution of Lebanon and the relevant principles of international law, in particular the principle of “non-refoulement.” In this context, we express our solidarity with the Lebanese people and the Lebanese authorities, and we salute their courage, generosity and dedication in the bid of overcoming the challenges of this unprecedented humanitarian crisis. We reiterate the need to strengthen Lebanese capabilities and respond to humanitarian needs, and we welcome the support of international partners.”