BEIRUT: Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi said Friday that the military would remain strong during what he described as a “sensitive and delicate” phase.
Speaking to soldiers ahead of this Sunday’s Resistance and Liberation Day, Kahwagi said: “The upcoming phase is sensitive and delicate. And you will, as always, be eager to fulfill your oath and promise to Lebanon, and you will work with utmost awareness and discipline to preserve its unity and stability.”
“Despite all the tragic occasions we are witnessing, we will stay coherent, working so that our national occasions will continue to bring hope and promise of a better future during which the Army will live up to the aspirations and expectations placed upon it.”
The Resistance and Liberation Day marks Israel’s withdrawal in 2000 from south Lebanon, ending 22 years of occupation.
“As much as we remember the joys of the first moments which followed the withdrawal of the Israeli army from Lebanon, and the Lebanese celebrating the Army’s deployment in the south along with peacekeepers in line with [U.N. Security Council] Resolution 1701 [in 2006], we share the aspirations of the Lebanese to have a president elected in the remaining constitutional period,” Kahwagi said.
Saturday is the last day of President Michel Sleiman’s term in office. Parliament has failed to elect a successor during five sessions held during the past month.
The Army commander added that the Resistance and Liberation Day was a dear occasion for every Lebanese regardless of sect, ideology or political party.
“We remember the martyrs of the Army and all the martyrs of the resistance who through their martyrdom, set Lebanon as a model in the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Kahwagi explained in his message.
Kahwagi assured the troops that he was aware of the delicate and dangerous period that Lebanon was currently witnessing, and of the fears that Lebanon would likely plunge into a presidential vacuum again.