Address at the meeting with the leaders of the March 14th Movement
We are here today, as in the past, as we will be here in the future, wherever and whenever this might be necessary, to express our solidarity, to extend a helping hand, and above all to listen to you. We are gathered here today, members of the Socialist International, parties from different parts of the world, because what happens here today is of our concern, our immediate concern. We seek peace; we see it to be part of the peaceful solution that we believe must be possible.
We are committed to peaceful negotiation that will be acceptable across the political spectrum of Lebanon and will leave no victor and no vanquished.
We are here today saying that our commitment to justice is unequivocal. To those of the families of the victims of violence, assassinations, to those who have been victims of violence or attempted assassinations we are here to express both our condolences but also our solidarity and our commitment.
We are here expressing our commitment and our solidarity, as we were when we condemned the murder of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. We are here today to condemn another brutal murder, that of Pierre Gemayel. We have consistently condemned, without failure, all acts of violence, political violence, ranging from the murders of innocent people in Qana to the murders of Lebanese martyrs.
We are here to show our solidarity to all those citizens and politicians who do not fear to speak out their own views, even if sometimes they know that this puts their life in danger.
And a tiny personal story. I very much understand what it means to be in a period with the fear of violence, the fear of oppression, the fear of assassination. As well as Luis from Chile, both of us have lived under dictatorships. We have lived under periods also of internal strife. My grandfather went to jail six times because of his beliefs, and my father twice. So it is something that I wish to say from a personal point of view also. Making your views open and free is a basic tenet of our democracies and stability.
And we are a movement – many of us have personally felt this, but all of our movement, the Socialist International is here to say we support the Lebanese people and all those who are fighting for freedom and democracy.
We are here also to say that this achievement with the victory of the 14th of March Alliance of the Lebanese people who, against the climate of fear and violence, continue to demand their basic right to decide in democratic elections, that this is a right for the future of the country, this is a right that can’t be taken away from them.
We are here also to say that we have supported the Resolution 1701 in the UN, and ask all parties involved in that armistice that they avow to stick to this armistice and they do so at the agreed time, and of course we ask Israel to respect this also, particularly concerning the overflights.
We are here to say that yes, Lebanon can and must have a peaceful and prosperous future. I have been in Lebanon many times; unluckily, I have visited only in times of crisis. But I know as a neighbor from Greece that Lebanon is a beautiful country, that you are a beautiful people, you are a brave people. And you have shown that you can move forward.
Yet there are preconditions and prerequisites:
A fair society. This is why we have supported the International Tribunal.
End to foreign interference from any side, from anyone. We need to see a sovereign Lebanon.
Democratic rule, good governance, respect of human rights. Violence cannot be a political method. There will be no stability if violence and assassinations are a political method..
And I will also support what the Arab League and Amr Mousa are trying to do. We need the region involved. We need the region to be involved, and finally we need to see a just solution for Palestine, an independent Palestine living in peace with neighboring Israel.
And at this point we have called, as the Socialist International, for a regional international conference to move this process forward and create security for the wider region.
So we are here today to help, to listen, to discuss, to extend this invitation to all for dialogue, whether it is the state, political forces, international organizations, civil organizations. All must be involved in this dialogue but all must leave weapons behind, and all must use moderation. We must work towards national reconciliation.
If there is a will, we will succeed, and we are here today to strengthen this will. Thank you very much.