Speech at the dinner by PM Fouad Siniora
George Papandreou: Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Siniora, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, first a word of thanks to the Prime Minister knowing that we are here at a very critical moment and his time is precious, so we very much appreciate this hospitality you are showing us.
I want to express our determination and our belief that our struggle is a common one. As you have said, Mr. Prime Minister, we share values and we share the vision of a democratic Lebanon, we share the vision of an independent integral Lebanon, we share the vision of a peaceful Lebanon, we share the vision of a Lebanon without violence, without assassinations, without extremisms.
We share the vision of a reconstructed and strong prosperous Lebanon. And we know that this is possible because we know you, we know your beautiful people and we know that at your best you are a society of moderation, of dialogue, of conviviality, of diversity, which in fact has deeply rooted the characteristics of a democratic society.
We are here to express our solidarity with you and we are here not to simply put these in words – anyway you have seen our resolution – but to find ways in practical terms to be of utility, to be of help, to help in this process of peace and democracy for your country.
But as you have said to help also the process in the wider region in dealing with the core issue which is not only an issue for the Middle East but has become a symbolic issue for the world around, for world peace, and that is the Palestinian issue.
And we as Socialist International have again and again over many, many years, unluckily over too many years, said again and again we need to move forward for a free and independent Palestine, a state for Palestine that can live in peace and harmony with its neighbours and with Israel. And to this we have today said that we need to have initiatives and the political will from the international community to convene a new Madrid in order to move forward in peace in this region.
As you have mentioned the crisis, let us make it an opportunity for a new peace process. This is what we would like to support as Socialist International. Let me thank you again, let me say that it is very important we are here with you and we want you to know that we will be following events very closely, but we will not only be following events, but we will be here whenever necessary for a helping hand to make sure that democracy is a success in Lebanon.
Democracy as a success in Lebanon will be a success for our common values in the world. Thank you again.