The election of Michel Aoun as President of the Republic of Lebanon more than two years after the end of term of his predecessor is crucial for the future of the country. Lebanon is confronted by many challenges, starting with the conflict in neighbouring Syria, and is giving hospitality to hundreds of thousands of refugees.
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 the Lebanese citizens. As the European Union, we remain fully committed to support Lebanon in all fields, and in particular on the refugee crisis.
National unity based on the Constitution, the Taeff agreement, the ministerial Baabda declaration and commitment to relevant Security Council resolutions, including 1701, remain crucial for the future of Lebanon. The new government will have to guarantee the stability of the country in this new political phase while adopting the necessary social and economic measures for the sake of all Lebanese.
The upcoming 2017 parliamentary elections will be another key moment for Lebanon's democracy. The legislative framework should be agreed in a constructive spirit. The European Union stands ready to support them and will deploy an election observation mission upon invitation of the Lebanese authorities.
Finally, let me praise the role of Prime Minister Salam and Parliament Speaker Berri during the period of institutional crisis and commend the role of the Lebanese Armed Forces and all security agencies in providing security during this time. Lebanon has proven its resilience in many difficult circumstances: the European Union has always been, is and will stay at its side.