In his delivered word during the opening session of the Rome 2 conference, entitled “Lebanon, building trust: a viable security for the country and the region”, at headquarters of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Farnesina), Prime Minister Saad Hariri said: “It is a great honor for my delegation and myself to be welcomed in Rome for this conference. Thank you Prime Minister Gentiloni for hosting us and for your commitment to making this conference happen.

Thank you Mr Secretary General for always having the United Nations stand by our side.

Thank you, the representatives of 41 nations gathered here today. Your presence is a clear indication of the importance you give to Lebanon’s security and stability. It is also an acknowledgement of the role Lebanon plays in stability across our region.

It is a testimony to the need to build our State security institutions, the sole defenders of Lebanon’s sovereignty.

The Lebanese government recognizes that it is enjoying an exceptional moment of international consensus and support. We consider that it is in our national interest to preserve this international consensus and as such, we are committed to doing our part.

The President of the Lebanese Republic, Michel Aoun, announced three days ago, that the National Defense Strategy will be discussed following the legislative elections in May. I join President Aoun’s call to the International community to support the Lebanese Armed Forces, to enable them to assume their duty of preserving security and stability in accordance with the National Defense Strategy.

We have committed to investing in our Army and Security Forces in our new budget. Together, with your support and commitment, we can build a strong partnership in safeguarding Lebanon’s state institutions.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

My government’s priority is to create a virtuous cycle of security, stability, growth and employment for Lebanon and the Lebanese. Rome II is a first step towards achieving this and will be followed by the CEDRE and Brussels conferences. Indeed, stability and security are underlying conditions for economic growth and prosperity.

On December 5, the Lebanese Government with all its components committed to the policy of disassociation. This is today a collective responsibility. It is closely monitored by all State institutions to ensure it is executed to Lebanon’s national interest in keeping the best relations with Arab countries and the International Community at large.

I ask you all to give Lebanon the chance and the time to accomplish.

I take this opportunity to thank our Arab friends present here today in support of our security institutions. The Lebanese will never forget everything you have done and we are happy you are here today to renew your commitment to Lebanon’s stability.

My Government remains committed to ensuring that the LAF and the ISF continue to work together on the strategic level and to embarking on a major, long-awaited reform agenda in the security sector. It also remains committed to Security Council Resolution 1701 and 2372 which in itself urges international support for our Armed Forces.

We will be sending more LAF troops to the south and we stress our intention to deploy a Model Regiment.

We thank UNIFIL and all the Troop Contributing Countries for sending their men and women to maintain peace and security on our Southern Border, the calmest border in the Middle East.

However, Israel remains the primary threat to Lebanon. Its daily violations to our sovereignty must stop.

While we are thinking of ways to move from a state of cessation of hostilities to a state of permanent cease-fire, Israel continues to make plans to build walls on reservation areas along the Blue Line.

We are here to build trust because we have acknowledged that a viable security for Lebanon is a viable security for the region. All efforts must be channeled to maintain peace and calm on our borders.

I cannot stress enough the great value I attach to recruiting more female officers and to ensuring increased representation of women at all decision making levels in institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) which was a landmark resolution on women, peace and security.

Strengthening Lebanon’s security institutions will strengthen rule of law. And strengthening rule of law will promote Human Rights. As such, I want to express today my Government’s Commitment to take steps to activate our National Human Rights Commission in the coming months.

We are also currently working on establishing a specialized Human Security Unit under the Presidency of the Council of Ministers which will focus on raising national awareness on the risk of possession and use of firearms by the civilians. As a future step, we plan to create a National Committee for firearms in Lebanon. This development confirms our engagement in the different contexts of the “UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects.

My government’s policy is to consolidate strategies for all our security agencies, including the General security, state security and customs, in direct alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 16 and aims at promoting peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

The duties of General Security have increased exponentially.

It had to cope with the massive influx of over 1,2 million displaced Syrians, while bearing the burden of addressing the major security challenges accompanying the crisis, in cooperation with the LAF and ISF.

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the courage, bravery and commitment of the men and women of the Lebanese Military and Security Forces. Those who serve, those who have given their lives, and those who continue to risk theirs to confront the global threat of terrorism, in all its kinds. They sacrifice to fight and win this common struggle against extremism, intolerance and injustice, in order to safeguard our sovereignty, our diversity, our prosperity, and our way of life.

Stability is not granted. We have to work for it every day. The time for mobilization and for coordination is NOW. Together, we are facing a global threat that commands a global reaction. Lebanon is ready”.

Source: National News Agency