Addressing the dinner attendees at the closing of the sixth round of the Diaspora Energy Conference on Saturday, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil stressed that "our belonging is what brings us together," and "one form of this belonging is the Lebanese nationality, or Lebanity, which we considered to be the highest affiliation and is the real common denominator between us."
He added: "Lebanon wants to give you, not to take away from you. This is a basic equation."
Bassil indicated that in spite of all that people hear about Lebanon, the deposits in Lebanese banks reach 200 billion dollars, which is four times the size of the national production, and 80 percent of these deposits belong to residents because the Lebanese believe in their homeland and deposit their money here.
"Some people accuse me of being racist and I understand them because their Lebanese affiliation is not strong enough to feel what we feel, and because they consider that a second affiliation may be more important to them," Bassil went on.
"It is normal for the state to distinguish its citizens from others, i.e. from foreigners, and this is not racism," he explained, pointing to the content of the International Convention against Racial Discrimination which indicates that the local law prevails.
"It is normal to defend the Lebanese labor force against any other labor, whether Syrian, Palestinian, French, Saudi, Iranian or American," Bassil maintained, stressing that "the Lebanese come first!"
"Our economy and our banking system are still resisting, and are still a role model for many other countries. What harms Lebanon is the distorted image that some people convey, and this is the biggest pollution, namely the insistence on not revealing the positives," Bassil concluded.
Source: National News Agency