Salam before UN General Assembly: Lebanon is no eternal asylum but country for Lebanese only

NNA – Prime Minister Tammam Salam delivered Lebanon’s word before the United Nations General Assembly, whereby he assured that Lebanon is not an everlasting refuge, but a State for all its sons, and a small country waging an open battle against terrorism.

“Lebanon, which emphasizes the need to revitalize the General Assembly to render it more effective in addressing issues of concern for humanity, regrets the fact that the Security Council has failed repeatedly to address the conflicts afflicting many countries, particularly in our region, and thus stresses the importance of reforming this Council in a way that reflects the political, economic and demographic realities emerging in the world,” Salam said.

“My Lebanon is enduring a severe political crisis; the most prominent headline for it is our Parliament’s inability, for more than two and a half years now, to elect a President of the Republic. The crisis has led to an almost complete paralysis of the legislative power, as well as to slowing the work of the executive authority, not to mention the negative impacts of all this on the economic situation,” Salam went on in his address before the conference’s attendees.

“All the sisterly and friendly countries, and all the insiders, know the specificity of the political reality in our country, and the extent of external factors’ influence, foremost the sharp regional tension which has become an open conflict across the area,” Salam explained, hence implying that the current status-quo required admitting that “ending the presidential vacuum in Lebanon is not in the hands of Lebanese parties only.”

“I appeal to all Friends of Lebanon, and to all those who are keen on avoiding the emergence of a new tension spot in the Middle East, to help the Lebanese elect a president of the Republic, in order to restore balance in our constitutional institutions, and protect the Lebanese model of co-existence which is one the few surviving experiences of pluralism in the East,” Salam urged.

“We have said before on this podium, and we repeat today, that the painful Syrian war has produced a major displacement crisis that brought to Lebanon burdens exceeding its capacities. We are a small country hosting numbers of displaced Syrians equivalent to one-third of the Lebanese population. We are fulfilling our humanitarian duty towards them with limited capabilities, fed by insufficient international aid. We are actually disappointed with the level of international response to our needs as a host country; a response that does not commensurate with the promises made, or with the goodwill that has been expressed in more than one event,” the Premier went on.

“Lebanon, which has stopped receiving new displaced persons, calls on the United Nations to set a full vision to restore a dignified and safe return for displaced Syrians to their homeland,” he said, urging the UN to work with concerned parties to turn this plan into reality one as soon as possible.

“Awaiting the crystallization of this arrangement, we highlight the ‘temporary’ aspect of displaced Syrians’ presence on Lebanese soil, and we announce that our country is not one of permanent asylum, but a final homeland for the Lebanese, and only them.”

“Lebanon is still suffering the risk of terrorism. It is engaged in open confrontation with that terrorism and it dearly pays the lives of military elements, civilians and children as price in this battle,” Salam went on, declaring, once again, Lebanon’s commitment to fighting this scourge, and stressing the importance of regional and international cooperation at this level.

“We consider that communities closing on themselves, retreating behind buffer walls, and promoting Islamophobia (…) is not a panacea for terrorism. It is rather a recipe for violent, extremist and racist tendencies that democracies have shunned long ago,” the Prime Minister said to his audience, assuring that facing terrorism is a long course that requires multi-level efforts.
“The first step on this course lies in the quest to address the roots [of terrorism] and everything that fuels it, by ending deprivation and injustice, which are an incubator for extremism, and by meeting the just demands of peoples for freedom, dignity and equality, and rejecting all forms of violence and exclusion.”

“On the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the 1701 Security Council Resolution, Lebanon reaffirms its commitment to this decision with all its stipulations, and calls on the international community to compel Israel to stop violating the Lebanese sovereignty, and to cooperate fully with the United Nations peacekeeping troops for the demarcation of the rest of the Blue Line and for its troops’ withdrawal from northern Ghajar, the Shebaa farms and Kfar Shuba Hills.”

“Lebanon fully clings to its right for water and natural wealth of oil and gas in its exclusive economic zone,” he added.
The Premier also condemned Israel’s continuing occupation of Palestine, stressing the need for a fair and comprehensive solution to the conflict and highlighting the importance of Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their land.

“We renew our call upon all major powers to end this state of uncertainty and indecision and assume their responsibilities by doing everything in their capacity to stop the bloodshed and restore security and stability to our region. We appeal to everyone to make sincere and effective efforts in the fight against this obscurantist terrorism, and we warn against the dangers of tampering with maps, demolishing existing entities, changing the demographic nature of communities, or threatening social cohesion and religious diversity in them,” he concluded