French President Emmanuel Macaron opened half an hour ago the ministerial meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon, at the headquarters of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, in the presence of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The meeting is held in the presence of the Foreign Ministers of the United States, China, Russia, Germany, Great Britain and the European Union and representatives of the Arab League, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank and the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon.

It is co-chaired by the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian and the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Ms. Amina Mohammed.

This is the speech delivered by Prime Minister Saad Hariri at this meeting:

Mister President,

Mrs. Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Ministers representing the countries of the International Support Group for Lebanon,

Ladies and Gentlemen, representatives of International Organizations,

Dear friends of Lebanon,

I thank the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron for holding this important meeting of the International Support Group, as well as all those present. President Macron continues to mark his friendship and attachment to Lebanon and its stability, and I am once again personally grateful to him.

Lebanon has just been through a crisis that could have affected its political, economic and security stability. It escaped thanks to his friends, many of whom are here, and to the will of its people and its representatives not to succumb to it.

This crisis has validated the attachment of the entire international community to the stability of Lebanon. It has also helped to gauge the willingness of all the Lebanese to protect their country from the regional fire that surrounds them.

Indeed, all Lebanese political groups just reaffirmed their commitment to respect the principle of disassociation of regional conflicts and non-interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries.

On the basis of this commitment, I decided to withdraw my offer of resignation. My Government must now undertake the task of maintaining the best relations with the Arab countries and with the international community in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council, including resolution 1701, which has helped to ensure the stability and security of our southern border for 11 years already.

My Government must also resume its program for Lebanon’s stability and internal security, and to meet the basic needs of our citizens, while addressing the challenges of the Syrian displaced crisis on its territory.

It must also continue the initiated reforms and ensure holding the legislative elections scheduled for next May.

The stability of Lebanon may seem like a small miracle given the many conflicts that destabilize the region. It is maintained at the price of sacrifices, dialogues and compromises.

The sacrifices of the Lebanese Army and the security services made it possible to contain the terrorist threat and move it away from our borders.

The capacity for dialogue and compromise allows to maintain civil peace while respecting the Constitution and the Taif agreements. And the will of all Lebanese is to safeguard our democracy and our coexistence in a region beset by extremism and exclusion.

In this sense, Lebanon is a model for the whole region and, dare I say, for the world.

I personally pledge to continue our action to strengthen state institutions and for economic and legislative reform, in order to consolidate the rule of law and ensure greater transparency and a better fight against corruption.

The Central Bank and the entire Lebanese banking sector continue to ensure full compliance with international laws and rules and the best banking practices.

This is important because the stability of our banking sector is an important condition for the stability of Lebanon and its economy.

The disassociation policy reiterated by my Government and adopted by all its political components will enable us to maintain our national unity while respecting the Arab consensus.

But the stability of Lebanon necessarily depends on its capacity to cope with the economic and social challenges, stemming essentially from the Syrian crisis.

I am sure you are all aware that Lebanon is providing a public good to the world by hosting more than 1.5 million Syrian displaced on our territory.

We are all aware, too, that this crisis will only be solved by a political solution guaranteeing the return of all the displaced, with dignity and security.

In the meantime, to absorb this shock, we must engage in a plan to rehabilitate our infrastructure and revive our economy.

This plan cannot be done without your support, and that of all the friends of Lebanon.

We hope that this support will translate into holding the conferences planned for investment in Lebanon, for the strengthening of the Army and the security services, and for a resolution of the refugee crisis.

Allow me to express my gratitude for the positive role that your group plays and that you play individually for Lebanon.

I hope that you will remain a forum where our voice will continue to be heard and where your political support for our stability will continue to be expressed.

This becomes even more urgent, with the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli state. It will further complicate the peace process and pose an additional challenge to the stability of the entire region.

On behalf of all Lebanese, I can only repeat our rejection of this decision and our commitment to the Arab Initiative for a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Source: National News Agency