NNA - "I call for activating the financial decisions to support Lebanon to ensure a decent repatriation for the displaced to their countries, especially that Lebanon tolerated the burden of Syrian refugees at the economic, social and security levels," President Michel Aoun said during a speech at the opening of the EU Parliament's ordinary session for 2018-2019.
Aoun rejected linking between the return of the displaced and the political solution to the Syrian crisis.
"We are concerned about any link between the return of the displaced and the political solution to the Syrian crisis," he said, recalling the Palestinian cause that remains without a political solution.
"Lebanon seeks to secure a dignified and safe return of the displaced to their homes, and rejects any procrastination in this regard. It supports any aid to resolve the issue of massive Syrian migration to its territories, like the Russian initiative and refuses to link it to a long-standing political solution," Aoun underlined.
Commenting on the general situation in Lebanon, President Aoun pointed out "Lebanon is divided politically due to regional wars, and not nationally."
"Lebanese society by nature is not an incubator for extremism and rejection of the other. Respect for freedom of belief, expression of opinion and the right to disagree is part of the Lebanese culture," he added. "This characteristic helps Lebanon to overcome its problems and enhance its internal security, in addition to inspiring other countries," stressed Aoun.
He continued to emphasize, "Lebanon finds only in dialogue, mutual respect and the return to universal principles of human rights, groups and countries, a way to cool the engines of violence, wars and extremism, which made our region a burning heart of hatred, fear and unrest."
"What surrounds us today makes us more committed to the foundations on which the State of Lebanon was founded, first and foremost being its democratic system, alongside its coexistence, diversity and cultural wealth," Aoun underscored.
Touching on the challenges facing Lebanon at the current stage, Aoun stressed that it was a top priority to "combat corruption and promote transparency and accountability." He disclosed that basic work will be launched with the new government, which will shoulder the responsibility of implementing the economic development plan and the Cedar Conference decisions and boosting stability and prosperity in the country.
Meanwhile, the President hailed the European Union, describing it as a unique area in which people's dreams are intertwined and the principles and ideals are shared, while maintaining their individualities, cultural depths and sense of belonging to their homeland.
"The strength of the European Parliament, this democratic edifice, lies in the building of real peace on the European continent, the absence of a war tendency to solve problems and the conviction of a large group of nations that their power, interests and prosperity are in their unity and not in the conflict between them," Aoun asserted.
The President also commended the role of the European Union's delegation to Lebanon that provided support for the preparation and organization of Lebanon's recent parliamentary elections.
Finally, Aoun called on the European Parliament to support Lebanon's repeated demand to be declared as "a permanent center for dialogue between different civilizations, religions and races."
================ Roula el-Kik