Brussels, May 26, 2008
[*Q. – How are you going to help the new President of Lebanon?*]
THE MINISTER – We have already done a lot to help him become president and that’s not the least thing to our credit since there weren’t many of us. In fact three countries were invited to help – Spain, Italy and France – who for months and months demonstrated a perseverance which was rewarded after the Arab League’s intervention on the three points which we had identified. This time, there’s a feeling, let’s say of deliverance. At all events, from Hezbollah to the Lebanese forces, everyone is pleased and everyone considers this a tremendous Lebanese success.
We are, of course, going to continue. First of all, there needs to be a government because we can’t directly help the President of the Republic whose duties are, as you know, more honorary than political. But I hope that on Wednesday – yes it’s the day after tomorrow, Wednesday, that the Prime Minister has to be appointed after consultation with the political groups – Michel Suleiman, President of the Lebanese Republic, will propose a name. Names have been put forward, it’s not for me to say which ones. It was an unbelievable situation: (…) 19 parliamentary sessions were postponed and there was a government which wasn’t functioning. There was no budget. The Lebanese have lost 20% of their purchasing power.
I hope that things are going, from tomorrow on, to get almost back to normal, and I am very happy that our country (…) has played an important role. Nor let’s forget UNIFIL in which the three major Mediterranean countries I’ve talked about, once again, are involved to a very large extent. (…)./.