BEIRUT: Speaking during a ceremony commemorating the Lebanese Army's 74th anniversary, President Michel Aoun stressed that the country's difficult economic situation is the biggest threat currently on the horizon.
"The dangers we currently face are not necessarily military. The economic risks are more severe, it's the biggest danger and affects everyone," Aoun said while addressing the graduating officers at the Shukri Ghanem barracks in Fayyadieh.
Speaking a day after signing off on the country's "most austere budget" as touted by some, the president laid the blame at a myriad of factors, both regional and domestic.
"Regional wars and the global economic downturn have played a role, as well as years of accumulated mistakes [in Lebanon], he said, before expressing hope in "overcoming these challenges through determination."
The budget aims at reducing the country deficit by cutting spending and boosting revenues through a series of austerity measures, including a number of tax hikes.
If successful, Lebanon's budget deficit would be decreased to 7 percent, down from 11.5 percent, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said.
Aoun was accompanied by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Speaker Nabih Berri, Army commander Gen. Joseph Aoun and Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab. The men welcomed 269 officers: 166 Army officers, 90 from the Internal Security Forces, 11 from General Security and two from Customs.
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