TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – On a day hailed as historic for Lebanon, the international community praised the country’s success in electing Gen. Michel Aoun as the new president of the republic Monday.
“Today’s election of the president opens the way for all political parties to now engage in constructive dialogue and share the responsibility to address the longstanding institutional crisis and the needs of Lebanese citizens” Federica Mogherini, foreign policy head of the European Union, said in a statement Monday, according to the Daily Star.
Mogherini continued by reaffirming the EU’s continued partnership with Lebanese institutions. “We remain fully committed to support Lebanon in all fields, and in particular the refugee crisis,” she said.
“Lebanon has proven its resilience in many difficult circumstances: the European Union has always been, is and will stay at its side.”
Similarly, Italian President Sergio Mattarella praised Lebanon, while acknowledging stable diplomatic and economic ties between the countries.
“In the name of the Italian people as well as my own, I wish to give you my strongest congratulations,” Mattarella said in a media statement.
“In this period of great upheaval, Italy remains at the side of Lebanon through its institutions, its civil society, and business community.”
Following the announcement of the result, many dignitaries took to social media, expressing their immediate praise.
The US Embassy said, “We congratulate the #Lebanese people and President @General_Aoun on today’s election and this moment of opportunity for #Lebanon.”
While many posted from afar, some were in the middle of the action observing directly from seats in the Parliament.
“A historic moment for Lebanon … Congratulations @General_Aoun – a new chapter begins,” UK Ambassador Hugo Shorter tweeted after attending the session.
French Ambassador Emmanuel Bonne, also a direct witness to Aoun’s victory, tweeted, “Congratulations and best wishes to the Lebanese people! Peace, unity, prosperity!”
While optimistic, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon elaborated on the challenges that the Lebanese state will continue to face. “The people of Lebanon deserve to have functioning state institutions,” Ban said. “The secretary general, therefore, encourages the formation without delay of a government that can effectively serve the needs of all Lebanese citizens.”
UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag expressed her enthusiasm at the turning of a page for Lebanese institutions and parliament. “We look forward to all institutions being re-energized and revitalized,” Kaag said in an interview with Reuters Monday “[We] will keep a keen eye on the national elections that should be held next year.”
A statement released by the US Department of State spokesperson John Kirby lauded the elections and its significance following Lebanon’s two-year deadlock. “This is a moment of opportunity, as Lebanon emerges from years of political impasse, to restore government functions and build a more stable and prosperous future for all Lebanese citizens,” he said.
Others too, expressed their content with election results. Turkish Ambassador Cagatay Erciyes lauded Aoun’s presidency before offering a sober assessment of Lebanon’s next move. “The next critical step (is) the establishment of a democratically elected government,” the ambassador stated via Twitter.
Responses across the region were also generally enthusiastic – especially from Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quick to praise Aoun’s election. “Congratulations to all Lebanese (people) on the election of President Aoun. Stability and progress is assured when the Lebanese themselves decide for #Lebanon,” he said on Twitter.
While no Persian Gulf states had released formal statements at the time of print, the pan-Arab TV station Al-Jadeed reported that the Emir of Qatar had called Aoun to congratulate him on his recent victory. According to the same source, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi also phoned Aoun immediately after the election session.