Caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Charbel Wehbe, participated in the meetings of the Arab League Council, in its 155th regular session held in Cairo, and delivered a speech in which he uttered Lebanon’s appreciation for all brotherly Arab countries and the Arab League, given the support and solidarity exhibited in the wake of the Beirut port explosion on August 4, 2020, “which enabled Lebanon to face the repercussions of the explosion and alleviate the impact of the disaster on the Lebanese.”
“This solidarity reflects the importance of Beirut Port as a commercial corridor to the Arab world and a contributor to its economic vitality,” he stressed.
“I would also like to emphasize the importance of the extraordinary session of this honorable Council, which was held on February 8, 2021 to discuss the Arab situation and the Palestinian cause. In our opinion, this session succeeded in reaffirming before the international public opinion that the Palestinian cause is still the central Arab cause; such emphasis being of major importance in light of the current developments,” he said.
Wehbe said: “It is our region’s right to boast of an honorable history, an ancient cultural heritage, remarkable diversity and a distinctive geographical location. These are all advantages that we can build upon, to be one of the most brilliant and creative civilizations. But it remains a fact that the path of stability, growth and prosperity, has been hindered recently by complex obstacles mainly due to the intensification of the strategic conflict in our region, and the increase in the volume of foreign interference in our Arab affairs in the service of interests that do not often intersect with the interest of the Nation. This has negatively impacted the internal situation in many of our countries.
The continuation of the situation as it is does not serve the interests of our countries or peoples, but rather serves the Israeli enemy which sees in it a pretext for further intransigence and increased attacks and threats against our Palestinian brothers, as well as against Lebanon and Syria,” he said, hoping this year will witness an increase in joint awareness over the need to preserve supreme Arab interest by ending wars, resolving conflicts, and employing international Arab relations for these ends.
“Turning my attention back to my homeland, Lebanon, the Lebanese territories remain, to their core, constant sufferers of repeated and increasing Israeli violations that terrorize the Lebanese in all populated areas, while the Israeli occupation continues to refuse to withdraw from the Lebanese lands it occupies: the Lebanese Shebaa Farms, the Kfarshouba Hills, and the northern part of the village of Ghajar,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs noted.
He stressed that “the pressure is immense, and has been further exacerbated by the explosion that rocked Beirut port, and which tremors were felt at the human, economic, social and health levels alike, at a time when the Lebanese are suffering from unprecedented economic and financial crises as well as the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic — all of which gaining double impact due to the massive displacement of Syrian brothers.”
“We assure you, once again, that the only sustainable solution is the safe and dignified return [of displaced persons] to areas inside Syria where the situation is stable,” he reiterated.
“Despite all of this, Lebanon is determined to continue facing the successive challenges that plague it, although success in this may exceed its current capacity. And as if the above mentioned challenges were not enough, here are Lebanon’s shores exposed to an environmental disaster the size of the homeland, cause by an oil spill coming from a ‘known’ geographical source, yet whose technical backgrounds remain unclear. Pollution caused by this spill threatens natural diversity along the Lebanese coast in general, and the southern coast in particular, so we ask our brothers to accompany our efforts to uncover the truth and conduct the necessary investigations to determine the responsibilities and punish those behind such a [maritime] disaster,” Wehbe went on.
“In this context, work in underway to form a government capable of facing these challenges and alleviating the impact of the crisis, in the hopes that we can advance the Lebanese economy as soon as possible, and revive the state’s institutions and vital facilities,” he said, thus urging Arab support to the said endeavors .