| 1 March 2024, Friday |

Aoun assigns Bou Saab to head Lebanese delegation to Damascus to discuss maritime demarcation

After the phone call that President Michel Aoun made a few days ago with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad regarding the demarcation of the maritime borders between the two countries, President Aoun assigned the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Elias Bou Saab, to head the Lebanese delegation to Damascus next Wednesday to hold meetings with senior officials in Syria.

The visit is devoted to discuss the issue of maritime demarcation between the two brotherly countries.

The Lebanese delegation includes: Foreign Affairs Minister, Abdullah Bou Habib, Public Works Minister, Ali Hamiyah, Director General of General Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, and members of the Petroleum Sector Authority’s board of directors, Wissam Shbat and Wissam Thahabi.

The President met Deputy Speaker, Elias Bou Saab, today at Baabda Palace and discussed with him the task that the Lebanese delegation will undertake with Syrian officials in the framework of demarcating the maritime borders between Lebanon and Syria, after the negotiations on demarcating the southern maritime borders ended.

The meeting also tackled the expected visit of the American mediator Amos Hochstein in the next two days to Beirut to hand over to President Aoun the official version of the American message containing the facts of the outcome of the negotiations with Lebanon.

Russian Ambassador:

President Aoun received the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Lebanon, Alexander Rudakov, accompanied by Counselor at the Embassy Maxim Romanov.

Lebanese-Russian relations and ways to develop them, in addition to recent local and regional developments were deliberated.

After the meeting, Ambassador Rudakov said:

“I was pleased today to meet His Excellency the President and thank him on behalf of the Russian leadership for the cooperation that took place between the Russian Federation and Lebanon during his term as the presidency of the friendly Lebanese Republic, during which relations between the two countries were strengthened, especially after President Aoun’s visit to Russia at an invitation from President Putin.

We discussed during the meeting the issue of activating and developing these relations in all fields, as we affirmed Russia’s readiness to provide all necessary support for the process of returning the displaced Syrians to their country, given the distinguished relations between Russia and Syria.

We also touched on the issue of aid that Russia can provide to Lebanon, especially in the field of food, in addition to activating the work of the joint governmental committee between the two countries. The discussion also included the developments of the Russian military operation in Ukraine.

At the end of the meeting, I wished the President success in the coming days in the coming days of his presidential term”.

In response to a question, Ambassador Rudakov said that he was briefed by President Aoun on the latest developments related to the demarcation of the southern Lebanese maritime borders, “As we confirmed Moscow’s welcome of this step for the interest of Lebanon and its stability”.

Brazilian Ambassador:

The President met the Ambassador of the Brazilian Federal Republic in Lebanon, Ambassador Hermano Telles Ribeiro, on a farewell visit to mark the end of his mission in Lebanon at the beginning of next month.

President Aoun commended the efforts made by the Brazilian Ambassador to develop relations between the two friendly countries in all fields, wishing him success in his new responsibilities. In appreciation of his efforts to enhance cooperation between Lebanon and Brazil, President Aoun awarded the Brazilian Ambassador the National Cedar Medal at the rank of Senior Officer.

The Brazilian Ambassador thanking President Aoun’s initiative, wishing him success with the approaching end of his presidential term, noting the role he played during his time in office to strengthen relations between Lebanon and Brazil.

Honoring Ali Fadlallah and Al-Mabarat Charitable Association:

President Aoun honored the Al-Mabarat Charitable Association and its president, Allama Ali Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, by awarding it the National Order of the Cedar at the rank of officer, in a ceremony held at Baabda Palace.

The ceremony was attended by Social Affairs Minister, Hector Hajjar, Bishops George Saliba and Charles Murad, and Dr. Mr. Muhammad Baqir Fadlallah, Dr. Mr. Jaafar Fadlallah, Sheikh Fouad Khreis, Sheikh Kamal Abi Al-Muna, Sheikh Hussein Shehadeh, Sheikh Ismail Al-Zain, and a number of officials in the association and its friends.

At the outset of the celebration, the Director General of Protocol and Public Relations at the Presidency of the Republic, Dr. Nabil Shedid, delivered the following speech on behalf of President Aoun:

“We are pleased to meet today, at the Presidential Palace, to celebrate the presence of the Al-Mabarat Charitable Association, which is one of the largest charitable, care, health, educational and cultural associations in Lebanon, and one of the beacons of the legacy of His Eminence, Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah.

It is one of his tributaries. And in his law, human issues are inherently worthy of civilization and not politics in its narrow sense. His Eminence often asked: “Does a person determine his place?” His answer was belonging and watching over a destiny, which is the choice of a seeker of freedom to establish the truth, with dignity for all.

From this standpoint, His Eminence wished that belonging to Lebanon be an investigation of human civilizational giving, in which there is no difference between a Christian and Muslim. For this reason, His Eminence set out on the vastness of his luminous mind, through which he builds actions of truth, and feelings from words of poetry that are all prayer, which gave Lebanon, Arabism and Islam what no one else could give him.

This integrated civilized concept is entrusted today by His Eminence Sayed Ali Fadlallah, who is the founder of the Forum of Religions and Cultures for Development and Dialogue, as an intellectual institution that included a group of clerics, scholars and researchers specialized in religious, intellectual, educational and cultural issues of all shades and directions. It has reached the announcement of the founding document and the strategic vision of the forum, which focuses on caring for civil peace based on equality between citizenship.

In the goodness of giving, the “Al-Mabarat Charitable Association” continues to care for fraternity, and the privacy of generous giving.

Today, when Lebanon is looking into the midst of crises that afflict it, shake it and seek to contain it, this association – the legacy – the beacon, can only be honored, because honoring it is the honor of Lebanon, which emerges from pain for all those who, in his name, elevate his person to the resurrection.

For this reason, and in appreciation of the donations of the “Al-Mabarat Charitable Society” for the sake of Lebanon and its people, His Excellency, President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, decided to award it, through His Eminence, Mark Ali Fadlallah, the National Order of the Cedar, at the rank of officer.

For his part, Allama Fadlallah responded with a word in which he said:

“I begin by thanking Your Excellency for this generous gesture, which I consider not as a tribute to a person, but as a tribute to a value dear and dear to my heart and your hearts, and it is the value of dialogue, and it is the value that I am proud of my association with as it formed my identity and the way of life that I have adhered to since I started my work in the Al-Mabarat Association and the Dialogue Forum, in addition to social work and human service in this country.

Dialogue is what gives meaning to Lebanon, and it is the message that he carried and is carrying to the world, and this is what the heavenly messages brought and called for and urged him to follow. It is a call that should be pursued in the face of all those who seek to sabotage this formula, upon which this country was built, and we want it to continue.

Mr. President,

From all those working in this conversational climate, you have all thanks, appreciation and respect because you have endeavoured with all your efforts to transform this climate from its current situation, where vagueness in ideas and courtesies prevailed in communication, to embodying it as a reality through the “Human Academy for Convergence and Dialogue”, to turn into a vast arena for acquaintance.

Cultural and human relations between different religious, ethnic and cultural affiliations, and to a university in which generations are brought up to know each other, a real and deep knowledge away from preconceived ideas and existing patterns, which are ideas and patterns that distort the other and justify their antagonism. Through constructive, rational and objective dialogue, concerns are removed, distances between people are brought closer, and the spirit of brotherhood and love is cultivated among the Lebanese in a way that enhances national and human unity.

Mr. President,

This generous initiative represents for us and for the clergy among us, the Al-Mabarat Association, the Forum of Religions and Cultures and the Civil Peace Coordinator, as well as for all platforms, sites and dialogue institutions, an incentive and impetus to continue to follow this approach and continue working to open more doors of closed squares to open up to each other in the spirit of dialogue and the love with which we build this country. This is the spirit that I was inspired by since I was young from my father, who was an advocate of dialogue and meeting and a worker in this way, and he is the one who said that the truth is the daughter of dialogue, and he is happy today to be by your side under this title, the title of dialogue and work for the human being in this country, and on this occasion.

Thank you, Mr. President, and may you be in good health and success, in the service of Lebanon and its people”.

For his side, President Aoun thanked Mr. Fadlallah for his appreciation and love, pointing out that he was inspired by many of his human qualities from his late father, Mr. Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, who was credited with founding the Al-Mabarat Association that cares about people and their issues, and the son after him managed it in the best ways.

“The work of Mr. Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah was not only a humanitarian act at the level of need, but he was personally an interlocutor seeking progress and promoting culture among people. He had a far-reaching view in which he looked forward to the progress of humanity with its knowledge and humanity” President Aoun said.

Civil Defense:

President Aoun awarded the Lebanese Silver Medal of Merit to the General Directorate of Civil Defense in appreciation of its role in the humanitarian and development fields, and for the sacrifices made by its workers and volunteers.

The President handed the medal to the Director General of Civil Defense, Brigadier Raymond Khattar, in the presence of a number of officials in the Directorate.

President Aoun commended the efforts made by the civil defense men, especially in the difficult circumstances that Lebanon has experienced during the past years, despite the difficult social conditions in which they live, especially appreciating the work of volunteers who deserve justice for the dedication they show in their rescue, development and emergency work.

In addition, President Aoun asked Brigadier General Khattar to convey his thanks and appreciation to each member of the Civil Defense and its officials.

For his part, Brigadier General Khattar thanked the President for honoring the Civil Defense, considering this initiative “A clear indication of the appreciation that the President of the country has for the sacrifices of the workers in this institution, which has never hesitated to meet the call of duty in relief, ambulance and rescue, vowing that it will always remain in the service of Lebanon in all circumstances”.

“Mr. President, words are almost inexpressible, but the salutation remains the most supreme. The salute of the company of arms accompanies us as long as we live because it remains the title of honor, sacrifice and loyalty” Brigadier Khattar said.

“Greetings to you and to the Presidency of the Republic stems from the depths, because we worked with your directives to serve the people in critical and dangerous moments, and we received their appreciation. And here you give us this medal to complete the appreciation” Brigadier Khattar added.

“Thank you for your honor, and greetings, we salute you in the name of the people and we pray that God grants you a long life” Brigadier Khattar concluded.—Presidency Press Office

  • NNA