Lebanon's Aoun: Dialogue with protesters crucial to solve issues at hand

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Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said on Monday that there is a need for dialogue with demonstrators in order to come to an understanding on the issues at hand.

On its official Twitter page, The Lebanese Presidency cited Aoun as saying to the UN Special Coordinator in Lebanon that one of the first tasks of the new government will be to follow up the anti-corruption, and carry out an investigation process that will include all officials in departments at different levels.

Demonstrators continue to block roads across Lebanon, including in the capital Beirut, as anti-government protests enter their third week. Lebanon’s National News Agency reported that while some roads such as the Nahr al-Kalb highway had been reopened, others remain closed by protesters on Monday morning.

A rally of support for President Aoun took place on Sunday, in a seeming counter-move against the nationwide protests, which have called for the resignation of the entire government. Aoun's son-in-law Gebran Bassil, who is also leader of his political party the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and foreign minister, attended the rally and called on demonstrators to refrain from accusing everyone of corruption.

Aoun previously gave a speech on Thursday calling for a new cabinet. Protesters seem to have largely ignored his calls as banks and schools were again closed on Monday.

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