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  • Demonstrators shout slogans during ongoing anti-government protests at a highway in Jal el-Dib, Lebanon, October 24, 2019.

    Demonstrators shout slogans during ongoing anti-government protests at a highway in Jal el-Dib, Lebanon, October 24, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 October 2019
Opinion

“I am ready to meet your representatives who carry your concerns, to listen to your specific demands,” said Aoun.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun released a televised statement on Thursday saying that he was ready for a dialogue with protesters to help save the country from collapse and he suggested a government reshuffle was possible.

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During his brief address, Aoun hinted that he was also ready to reshuffle his cabinet in order to meet protester demands and help ease tensions inside the country. 

The protests began last week when demonstrators expressed outrage with the ruling elite and demanded their immediate removal. This would end up paralyzing the country despite announced reforms intended to appease discontent and win over Western donors that have pledged badly needed aid.

In a televised address, Aoun promised to fight state corruption that he said had “eaten us to the bone” and assured protesters that their “shouts will not be wasted”.

“I am ready to meet your representatives who carry your concerns, to listen to your specific demands,” said Aoun.

The protest movement has been largely leaderless and it was not immediately clear which, if any, representatives would meet with Aoun.

He said there was “a need to review the current government,” hinting a reshuffle could be in the cards, but warned protesters that the system could not be changed by crowding public spaces.

“We will discuss what we can do together to achieve your objectives without causing collapse and chaos, open a constructive dialogue that can lead to a constructive result, and define options that will lead to the best results.”

Aoun also vowed that those who had stolen public wealth would be held to account and looted money returned.

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