Aoun Warns Israel From Starting Gas Exploration in Disputed Area
Lebanese President Michel Aoun warned on Monday from any Israeli decision to start gas and oil exploration in the disputed area with Lebanon, near Block 9, considering that this issue is very dangerous and will further complicate the situation.
“Lebanon will not allow encroachment on its internationally recognized territorial waters, especially the exclusive economic zone in the South, where oil and gas blocks are located, especially Block No.9, where exploration will start within months,” the President said.
Aoun was speaking during a meeting at the Presidential Palace with the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East for the Royal Melkite Catholics, Patriarch Youssef Al-Abssi, heading an accompanying delegation of bishops.
Commenting on the current economic crisis in the country, the President said it began before his election and was exacerbated.
“We could have started treatment immediately at the time, but many projects were postponed, such as the implementation of the McKinsey study, which was developed in 2017, when it was found that Lebanon has productive sectors that must be utilized to develop our economy, which enables us to pay the accumulated debts, but unfortunately there is a certain mentality characterized by laziness and work complication, with people who themselves are the pillars of this crisis,” he said.
Aoun explained that whoever caused the crisis couldn’t solve it.
He said that since the events of October 17, the severity of the crises has worsened. “We have reached the situation we are living in today,” the President said.
Aoun highlighted ongoing efforts to tackle the crisis, especially the financial part of it. “We should not forget the international crises as well as the crises in the region surrounding us, the conflict with Israel, and the US policy supporting it,” the President concluded.
Lebanon's economic crisis has led to a collapse of the local currency and purchasing power, plunging whole segments of society into poverty.