BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman urged the judiciary Thursday not to be swayed by “pressure” and to do their part to fortify national unity, as he praised newly elected council members.
Sleiman called on the judiciary “not to bow to pressure,” adding that “there is accountability, and there are efforts being made in the judiciary, the results of which will appear soon,” according to the state-run news agency.
Sleiman congratulated council head George Jreij as well as newly elected members.
The March 14-backed candidate Jreij was elected as the new head of the Beirut Bar Association last month, beating Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement contender.
Sleiman highlighted the importance of the institution’s work and its achievements. The president also called for strengthening national unity through adherence to the Baabda Declaration, an agreement between rival March 8 and March 14 leaders that calls for neutralizing Lebanon from regional and international conflicts, and fully implementing the Taif Agreement, which ended Lebanon’s 1975-1990 Civil War.
He pointed to the political and economic support Lebanon was receiving from the International Support Group for Lebanon. The group was launched on Sept. 25 by the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in coordination with the president.
The support group was created with the aim of supporting the state institutions and the Army, as well as helping the country cope with the influx of over 840,000 registered Syrian refugees.
Sleiman also stressed the need to form a new government and meet constitutional deadlines. The constitutional period to elect a successor to Sleiman begins on March 25, two months prior to the expiry of his term.
For his part, Jreij stressed the support of Lebanon’s lawyers for Sleiman and “the national stances he takes as well as the efforts he makes to maintain stability and national unity.”