Aoun meets American task Force delegation, receives credentials of papal and polish ambassadors

President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, on Tuesday received at the Baabda palace a delegation from the American Task Force for Lebanon, led by Organization's head Edward Gabriel.

President Aoun told the delegation that the security situation in the country is stable, with the army and other security forces carrying out their duties and exercising their role alone on all the Lebanese territories.

Aoun stressed that "the State exercises through its military and security forces its sovereignty over all its territories, except those occupied by Israel."

The President brought to attention that Lebanon was able to liberate its lands from the terrorist militants, and continues to hunt dormant terrorist cells through constant monitoring operations and follow-up, the matter that led to uncovering many cells and arresting their members.

On the other hand, Aoun told the delegation that the parliamentary elections staged last month in accordance with the new proportional vote law enabled the Lebanese to choose their representatives in the House of Parliament according to rules which were not available in the majoritarian electoral formula.

The President reiterated that "the negotiations between Lebanon and Israel through the United Nations continue, in order to complete the demarcation of the southern land borders and rectify the disputed points on the blue line."

Aoun also revealed that Israel continues to refuse to demarcate the maritime borders adjacent to the exclusive economic zone where the process of exploration for oil and gas had been launched.

Turning to the Syrian refugee predicament, Aoun explained Lebanon's ordeal from the crisis of the displaced Syrians and the losses incurred by the Lebanese economy and public finances, as a result of refugees' influx into Lebanon.

Aoun called on the United States to help ensure Syrian refugees' gradual return to the safe areas of their country, and not to wait for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, which may be long.

He also pointed out that Lebanon's desire for the return of displaced people to their country disagrees with the positions of a number of countries and international organizations that impede this return in different ways, knowing that these countries are aware of the repercussions incurred by the presence of one million and 850 thousand displaced Syrians on the economic, social, security and education levels.

Aoun hailed the role played by the American Task Force for Lebanon to help Lebanon and defend its interests in the United States.

In turn, American Task Force for Lebanon head, Edward Gabriel, said that the Task Force has been very active in Washington to promote bilateral relations between Lebanon and the United States of America and to develop a better understanding of this relationship.

On the other hand, Aoun received the credentials of the new Papal Nuncio to Lebanon, Monsignor Joseph Spiteri, and the newly appointed Ambassador of Poland. The ceremony took place in the presence of Caretaker Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Minister, Gebran Bassil, Foreign Ministry's Secretary General Ambassador Hani Shmaitili, and Ministry's senior officials.

Source: National News Agency