Ambassador Antoine Azzam of Lebanon said, “As we celebrate this dear national occasion and on behalf of the government and the people of Lebanon, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and deep appreciation to the Republic of Korea for assisting Lebanon and contributing in its recovery.»
|Ambassador Azzam of Lebanon (6th from left, front row) poses with the Korean government representative and other ambassadors.|
Then he stated, «The Korean government contributed in rebuilding infrastructure and in security projects as well as student scholarships, rural and municipal development programs nationwide and the most precious gift offered to Lebanon is the participation of the brave Children of Korea (Dongmyeong unit) in the peacekeeping force within the UNIFIL since 2007.»
Ambassador Assam made the statement at a reception he hosted at the Namsan Ⅲ room of Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul on Nov. 22, 2018 on the occasion of the National Day of the Republic of Lebanon.
The party was attended by many Korean and international guests, as well as the ambassadors and other senior members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps with their spouses.
Among the guests in attendance were Director-General Hong-Jin-wook of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ambassadors Hazem M. Fahmy of Egypt, Eero Suominen of Finland, Daul Matute-Mejia of Peru, Frode Solberg of Norway, Vitaliy Fen of Uzbekistan, Wylbur Chisiya Simuusa of Zambia, Michael Schwarzinger of Austria, Irineo Raul Silvero Silvagni of Paraguay. Excepts from the speech of Ambassador Azzam follow:
|Ambassador Azzam of Lebanon delivers a welcoming speech to the guests.|
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Azzam:
The honorable Nam In Soon, President of the Korea-Lebanon Parliamentary Friendship Association
His Excellency Hong Jin wook, representing the government of Korea,
Excellencies and distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a distinct pleasure to welcome you tonight. November 22nd marks the 75th Independence Day of the Lebanese Republic. We are glad to get together to celebrate this auspicious occasion.
What is that makes us the Lebanese nation that we are?
The answer is all around us. We are a blessed nation where social religious cohesion is the solid foundation that guarantees our stability. We are the keepers of a country that is small in land area but immense in natural beauty. We are a people that the world describes as warm generous and welcoming! We are a country blessed by its geography but cursed because of its geography.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I stand before you as a representative of a country that has since its inception carried the message of freedom, concord and moderation and is still striving to consecrate and consolidate this message in spite of the challenges and threats that have targeted both in the east and the west models of coexistence and cultural diversity.
As described by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, I quote, “Lebanon is not a county. It is a message, a message of freedom, an example of pluralism for east and west”
Ladies and Gentlemen,
|Logo ice work of Lebanon.|
We celebrate our independence day in a context dominated by major Arab developments. Our country and the region are undergoing major transformations in addition to the persistence of the phenomenon of terrorism. In this context we wish to laud the contribution of the Lebanese armed forces in countering terrorism and reiterate that there is no place for terrorism and extremism in Lebanon and call the international community to support the Lebanese armed forces in their efforts.
In fact the President of the Republic of Lebanon H.E. General Michel Aoun declared in his investiture speech that Lebanon has always been committed to respect the chart of the league of the Arab States and the international resolutions. Lebanon therefore adopts an independent foreign policy in compliance with the United Nations resolutions and international law.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The repercussions of the Syrian crisis and the immigration of over 1.5 million Syrian displaced to Lebanon in addition to 500 thousand Palestinian refugees hosted by Lebanon represent a serious threat to the existence of the country itself. Over 1/3 of people living on Lebanese soil are refugees.
It must be brought to your attention that the developments in the Arab world and the chaos affecting some Arab countries will inevitably affect western countries and their internal security.
It is primarily required to engage seriously and urgently, within the framework of the integrated process to impose a just and comprehensive solution to all aspects of the conflict in the Middle East based on the resolutions of international legitimacy, Madrid terms of reference and the Arab peace initiative in all its provisions.
This process would thus lay the foundations for a project of a broader dialogue and understanding between the east and the west and among civilizations, cultures and religions.
This is a long overdue historical understanding, following decades marked by hostility and feelings of injustice and decades of destructive wars and missed opportunities.
Consequently, it is also required to reach a fair and final solution to the question of Palestine that respects the Palestinian refugees right of return. Also a political solution is sought to guarantee the safe return of Syrian displaced to their country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Lebanon hosted the meeting of states parties to the convention on cluster bombs that concluded with the “Beirut declaration” which constituted a defining moment in the course of implementing this convention, and although addressing this issue stems from humanitarian considerations, this meeting has highlighted the terrible fallout of these weapons which have been heavily used by Israel during the aggression of July 2006. These weapons still threaten civilians on their farmland and the innocent children in the open field of their games in South Lebanon. Israel refuses to surrender the maps of the land mines and still considers itself above international law.
On the other hand we reaffirm that we are strongly attached to our full sovereign and economic rights over our territorial water and exclusive economic zone and to our rights in the exploitation of our natural resources. Be they on land or deep in the sea away from way designs or threats.
As we celebrate this dear national occasion and on behalf of the government and the people of Lebanon, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and deep appreciation to the Republic of Korea for assisting Lebanon and contributing in its recovery. The Korean government contributed in rebuilding infrastructure and in security projects as well as student scholarships, rural and municipal development programs nationwide and the most precious gift offered to Lebanon is the participation of the brave Children of Korea (Dongmyeong unit) in the peacekeeping force within the UNIFIL since 2007.
The Korean support not only reflects humanitarian concerns and historical ties but also proves the importance that Korea gives to sustainable development and restoration of a sovereign and developed Lebanon. The Republic of Lebanon supports all initiatives to restore peace and denuclearization and unification of the Korean peninsula.
Lebanon will remain committed to peaceful development and win-win cooperation. We will continue to work with the international community and make greater contribution to world peace and development.
God bless the Republic of Korea! Long Live Lebanon!
Kim Sua firstname.lastname@example.org
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