HARIRI: NO REASON TO FEAR FOR THE BANKING SECTOR

Prime Minister Saad Hariri said that there is no reason to fear for the Lebanese banking sector because Lebanon is one of the few countries that implement the American law on its banks, adding that the US Treasury and the Lebanese Central Bank cooperate together and Lebanon implements all laws imposed by Congress.

Hariri’s words came in reply to a question about the statement made by the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir about the Lebanese banks. Hariri was addressing last night in the Center House a large delegation of economic bodies and businessmen from Tripoli and the North.

He praised the decision reached yesterday in the Council of Ministers, stressing that it was a government decision with the commitment of all political parties represented in the government to dissociate from the internal affairs of the Arab countries and the struggles and wars in the region. He added that he will personally follow up the implementation of the decision.

He said: Everyone knows the difficult times we experienced in the last months, but the main objective was to focus on the stability of the country because without stability and security there won’t be prosperity or economy. I suspended my resignation at the request of the President but after the commitment to dissociation, in deeds and not in words, I withdrew my resignation and I will personally follow up the execution of dissociation because any non-compliance will put Lebanon once again in the circle of danger. The issue is not about Saad Hariri but about Lebanon and the interest of the Lebanese people who are aware that their basic interest is with the Gulf States and the Arab brothers.

He added: North Lebanon may have been neglected at some time, but this government held several meetings for all governorates with the focus on the North. We also decided to hold a cabinet meeting in Tripoli which we hope will take place and will issue important decisions related to the North. More importantly we worked on a $16 billion project to invest in the infrastructure. This project is being studied with all concerned parties before being presented to cabinet and parliament.

Hariri continued: We and Hezbollah are at odds on several issues that we couldn’t agree on and we had two choices: either to step up our political differences and raise the level of tensions in the country or recognize that we are at odds with Hezbollah and start taking care of the economic issues, the displaced, the services. This is the way I chose, it is the way that was adopted by Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and it succeeded in realizing achievements in the country. Others prefer to escalate the political rhetoric but I think that people need achievements in all fields.

He concluded: Our relations with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are very good and will improve continuously. The disassociation policy is the only path that will save the country. I am very proud that we reached it and issued a governmental decision in this respect, not just a statement.

Then a discussion took place between Premier Hariri and the attendees on the situation and the demands of Tripoli and the North. In response to a question about the statement of Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir regarding the Lebanese banks, Hariri said: We are among the countries that best implement US laws on their banks, particularly transparency. There is great cooperation between the American Treasury and the Lebanese Central Bank and all laws imposed by Congress are being implemented in Lebanon, so there is no reason to fear.

At the onset of the meeting, businessman Ghassan Jisr said that the during the absence of Premier Hariri, the Lebanese understood the importance of the compromises he made since the election of the President and the formation of the government, and the steps he took to consolidate security and activate the economy.

For his part, the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Tripoli and the North Toufic Dabboussi said that the consensus of all Lebanese on the person of Premier Hariri was the result of his long path of sacrifices, building confidence, providing peoples’ needs and patriotism.

Source: National News Agency