BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman said Wednesday a one-day strike by banks and businesses in parts of Lebanon represented a ‘cry for correcting’ the deteriorating economic situation in the country.
Wednesday saw a rare strike by large retail stores and banks in different parts of Lebanon over demands from the private sector that officials move forward with forming a government given the deteriorating economic situation.
“ Lebanon might be the only country in the world where employers have decided to cease work amid the economic dangers that threaten the country and this is a cry for correcting the situation,” Sleiman said during a meeting with a delegation from the Economic Committees, a body representing private sector institutions.
According to a statement from his office, Sleiman said “the solution requires all elements to safeguard the society’s security” and stressed the need for all parties to show understanding “to the cry and to respond positively and multiply efforts toward the formation of an inclusive Cabinet.”
He said the Cabinet should be inclusive, where members “bear their responsibilities and through which the National Dialogue Committee can be convened to continue seeking ways to defend Lebanon in the face of the dangers, particularly the Israeli threat.”
Sleiman said the participants were also free to discuss any other issue at the Dialogue table, particularly in relation to the national defense strategy.
The delegation visiting Sleiman at the Presidential Palace in suburban Baabda stressed that all they sought was a Cabinet that can manage the affairs of citizens.
They “expressed their confidence in the role that President Sleiman plays in safeguarding national unity and stability and the stances he takes [on this matter] which help reduce the level of tension and open the door for understanding and rescuing the country.”
Sleiman also urged that Lebanon abide by the “ Baabda Declaration” given regional events, particularly the crisis in Syria, in another plea on Lebanese to keep the country out of the neighboring conflict.
“ Sleiman views that developments in the region, particularly in Syria, requires everyone to abide by the ‘ Baabda Declaration’ and the disassociation from the problems and conflicts of others,” said the statement from the president's office.