Former PMs will boycott Baabda meeting: Without horizon and a waste of time

NNA - Former Prime Ministers Najib Mikati, Fouad Siniora, Saad Hariri and Tammam Salam held a meeting this afternoon at the Center House.

At the end of the meeting, Former PM Siniora delivered the following statement:

“We received an invitation from His Excellency President General Michel Aoun to attend a meeting at the Presidential Palace next Thursday. We never failed to respond positively to such invitations, and we often overlooked many sensitivities and formalities to respond to the requirements of national interest.

But this invitation today, and its declared aim, seem out of place in form and content. Is a waste of time, at a moment when the country needs different approaches to pull it out of the acute crisis that it is facing, to restore the confidence of citizens and reassure them about the future. This should be done by emphasizing the respect of Taif, the constitution and the unified national decision, by controlling the borders, by ensuring the independence of the judiciary through a publication of the judicial appointments decided by the Supreme Judicial Council instead of harming the principle of separation of powers, by stopping false interpretations of texts to invent concepts that are outside the provisions of the constitution and the law, or searching for gaps that do not exist to destroy the national balance and disassociation that the Lebanese drafted in the "Taif Agreement".

The real threat to stability may come from the deteriorating economic and financial situation the country has reached, which contributed to the delay in initiating reform from the part of those in position of responsibility, who do not have an agenda to protect civil peace from social explosion. This cannot be solved by large meetings that do not have a clear agenda, but rather by getting out of the state of confusion and complaining, by ceasing to blame others, and by embarking on reforms that restore confidence and save the economy and the national currency according to a serious plan of action that convinces the Lebanese, the international bodies and the donors.

The performance of the government in the past months (the electricity file, in particular the issue of Selaata, circumventing the Appointment Mechanism Law passed by Parliament, the selective fight against smuggling and the confusion in dealing with exchange rates or the government's failure to develop a unified study and plan for reform) indicates a blatant inability to make the country meet the serious challenges and be at the level of the current serious events. This can only be done by a program that draws a clear road map that includes a unified stance on the issues that led to the political, financial, economic and social collapse, and to the security and military exposure, and a program that corrects options and paths, launches reforms, restores Lebanon to its place and position, so it  reconciles with its Arab environment and regains the world's confidence.

We do not find in the meeting a serious opportunity to revive the table of a national dialogue that leads to serious decisions that settle Lebanon's position as a free, independent and sovereign State that belongs to its Arab surrounding, and restores the best relations with it.

We agree with what Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rai said yesterday and salute his national positions.

Our non-participation in this meeting is a clear objection to the inability of this authority to devise solutions that can save Lebanon with all its components. Today, Lebanon is threatened by a complete collapse that affects especially the middle class, that was always the backbone and the true lever of Lebanese society.

While we are aware of the criticality of the stage, we invite everyone to a rapid move to stimulate productive energies with all its economic, labor, union and civil components. In order to return to the fundamentals and defend:

1- The respect and implementation of the Lebanese constitution.

2- The approval of a reform plan and program that is clear and convincing economically and financially.

3- The respect of the decisions of the Arab and international legitimacies.

4- The respect of  the social commitment to disassociation.

5- The integration with the Lebanese interest system in the relationship with the Arab world.

We express our deep regret of not participating in the meeting called for by His Excellency the President, as a clear protest message against the inability of this authority to devise solutions that can save Lebanon with all its components. And based on our national position and our respect for the minds and aspirations of the Lebanese, we announce our unwillingness to participate in a meeting without a horizon. May God help Lebanon and its people”.

Question: With this stance, you are removing the Sunni legitimacy from this table, as if you cut off the path to dialogue?

Answer: Our stance is always national and will continue to be so.

Former PMs met at the Center House: To adopt serious orientation to halt economic deterioration

NNA - Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri received this afternoon at the Center House former Prime Ministers Najib Mikati, Fouad Siniora, and Tamam Salam. Discussions tackled the latest political developments.

After the meeting, Premier Siniora read the following statement:

“Former Prime Ministers Najib Mikati, Fouad Siniora, Saad Hariri and Tamam Salam held a meeting at the Center House that issued the following:

Lebanon is going through a deep political, economic, financial, monetary and socio-economic crisis. The situation deteriorated recently and threatens to reach a serious national crisis unless the presidency and its government change their policies immediately, return to respecting the constitution, laws and the interest of the Lebanese state, and focus on adopting the measures that can alleviate the suffering of the country and the citizens.

The current government, chosen by the Mandate and its political allies, has unfortunately turned into a tool for settling political scores and for revenge practices, and became a platform for throwing accusations and initiating conflicts in all directions, as well as a barrage behind which some personal maliciousness and presidential aspirations hide, unconcerned about the Taef Accord, the constitution, the implementation of laws, or the interest of the Lebanese state.

The daily suffering of the Lebanese is getting worse every day, and will intensify, unless the Mandate and the Lebanese government regain the lost trust locally and on the Arab and International levels, financially and politically.

Therefore, and out of national responsibility, and the keenness on the higher national interest that requires overcoming differences to save our homeland from what it is in, we call on the President and the government to take the following steps:

1- Adopt a serious orientation and will to halt the economic, financial and monetary deterioration in agreement with the International Monetary Fund, as the only international institution that has become accredited and relied on by the most countries of the international community, to give the necessary credibility to any economic plan that the Lebanese state adheres to.


2- Approve the reform that must be adopted without any delay, instead of diverting attention from the real causes of problems, and fabricating political battles that will only lead to more tension in the country, and waste resources and opportunities to put an end to the crises engulfing Lebanon.

3- Stop attempts to transform the Lebanese system from a parliamentary democratic system to a presidential system, and stop targeting the powers of the premiership to make it obedient to the small ambitions or hatreds of some, and return to the principle of separation of powers, balance and cooperation between these powers, and respect the independence of the judiciary.


4- Reassure the Lebanese that the presidency and the government adhere to the principles of the Taef Accord that is based on coexistence, respecting the constitution, preserving public and private freedoms, enabling the state to extend its full authority over all its land and facilities and control its imports, and restoring the criteria of competence, merit, and entitlement to occupy positions in state departments and institutions. As well as adopting accountability in the institutions on the basis of performance.


5-  Stop counterfeiting anti-corruption and turning it into a campaign of revenge and settling political scores, and start working to restore the confidence of the Lebanese and the world in the Lebanese administration through real, honest, impartial corruption-fighting, and by establishing the state of law that applies to everyone without any exception.

6- Stop the delay and procrastination in issuing the judicial appointments with unconvincing pretexts, and immediately release them as prepared by the Supreme Judicial Council, which removes suspicions about the intention to control the judiciary for political ends, and proves seriousness and sincerity in the approach of fighting corruption.

7- Realize the dangers of the isolation of Lebanon from its Arab and international surrounding, and accelerate the restoration of Lebanon’s Arab and international relations, by emphasizing on disassociating the Lebanese state and government, with all its components, from any regional or international conflicts or axes, to avoid more negative repercussions on the political, economic, financial and monetary levels, and to restore the confidence of the Lebanese citizens and the Arab and international communities.

We warn against the consequences of the pursuit by the Mandate and its government of the policies and practices that lead our country to a serious national crisis that turns difficulties into collapse, and suffering into an explosion. We call on them to return immediately to adopting the real and promised remedies that unite the Lebanese and do not separate them, within the framework of respecting the Taef Accord, the constitution and laws, and restore the confidence of citizens in their state, and the Arab and international confidence in Lebanon in order to preserve its interest and the interest of all Lebanese.

The protests have returned to the streets in the Lebanese cities and towns, despite the preventive measures from the Ministry of Health due to the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic. This means that after more than three months of patience, the aggravation of the crises and the spread of poverty, the citizens took to the streets to express their anger and disappointment and to demand reform, an end of the collapse and attention to the basic needs of the Lebanese. Of course, we do not accept the destruction of banks, shops, private and public properties. We do not accept the attacks against the army and security forces, and we pay tribute to them for their resilience and empathy towards the rightful demands of the Lebanese. But we request investigations about the violence, the deaths and the injuries that took place. And do not accept that the army and security forces be used as if they are the ones restricting the citizens' lives and freedoms.

We assure all the Lebanese, including our people in Tripoli, the North, Beirut, Sidon, the South, Bekaa and Mount Lebanon, that we will remain faithful to their issues and problems that are national problems that cannot be ignored, as the abuses caused by this Mandate and this government to the citizens, the Lebanese system and its constitution cannot be disregarded.”

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