NEW YORK: Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Friday hailed a new phase for his country that he hopes will lead it to recovery from an unprecedented economic crisis.
In a pre-recorded speech to the UN General Assembly, he urged the international community to financially support Lebanon as it tries to “claw its way back to recovery.”
He praised the recent agreement between rival Lebanese political factions to form a new government, and said corruption and financial mismanagement have contributed to the country’s economic crisis.
Aoun pledged that the embattled central bank would be audited, and called for the international community’s support to help Lebanon recover funds smuggled abroad.
Billions of dollars are believed to have been smuggled into overseas accounts by Lebanese bankers.
Aoun said he rejects the integration of Syrian refugees into Lebanese society, and urged the international community to help resettle them in their country.
Syrian refugees who have returned have faced arrest and torture by the regime of President Bashar Assad.
More than a year since the devastating explosion in the Port of Beirut on Aug. 4, 2020, Aoun said a confidential investigation into the origins of the explosive material and how it entered the port continues.