BEIRUT – During his address to the UN General Assembly, President Michel Aoun said implementing reforms in Lebanon goes hand in hand with conducting a forensic audit of its central bank and public institutions. The president added that he had “promised the Lebanese people and the international community” that he would ensure such an audit was undertaken.
Here’s what we know:
• President Michael Aoun gave his address via video conference to world leaders who have gathered in New York for the 76th United Nations General Assembly.
• Last week, incoming Finance Minister Youssef Khalil signed a contract with the auditing firm Alvarez & Marsal to conduct the forensic audit. Khalil is expected to receive an initial report from the company within 12 weeks of it starting work.
• The president also touched on the international community’s support for Lebanon in the aftermath of last year’s devastating port explosion, which left more than 218 people dead and destroyed much of the capital. “We thank the international community for standing by us during our healing process from the Beirut port explosion, we now ask you to stand by our public and private sector, we also welcome any aid to rehabilitate and rebuild the port in order to fully restore it,” Aoun said.
• While high-ranking officials continue to evade appearing before the judge assigned to lead the investigation into the blast, which occurred when a large quantity of ammonium nitrate carelessly stored in a port warehouse detonated, Aoun assured the General Assembly that the investigation into the explosion is continuing apace. “Our judiciary will have answers to where the explosive materials came from, why they entered our port, and who is the real party behind them,” the president said.
• Aoun also took the opportunity to request assistance with security satellite imagery from the day of the blast. “On the question of, did the satellites pick up anything at the moment of the Beirut port explosion? For that, I want to reiterate our request to countries that have information and data that help the investigation to provide it when necessary,” he said.
• Turning his attention to Lebanon’s relations with Israel, Aoun said Israeli threats against Lebanon were “the state’s main concern,” adding that Beirut will “make no compromises” in the resumption — which he hopes will be soon — of negotiations with Israel on the demarcation of the southern maritime border.
• During last year’s assembly, Aoun pleaded with the international community to help with reconstruction work following the Beirut port explosion, as well as the country’s economic difficulties.
BEIRUT – During his address to the UN General Assembly, President Michel Aoun said implementing reforms in Lebanon goes hand in hand with conducting a forensic audit of its central bank and public institutions. The president added that he had “promised the Lebanese people and the international community” that he would ensure such an audit was undertaken.Here’s what we know: ...