Marking the 14th commemoration of the assassination of his father, Martyr Rafic Hariri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri delivered the following speech this evening at the ceremony organized by the Future Movement at the Sea Side Arena Center in Beirut:
"I have the honor to welcome all the friends, allies, presidents and representatives of friendly countries, most particularly the envoy of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, brother Nizar al-Aloula, who is here with us today to attend the commemoration of Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, the martyr of Lebanon and Arabism, loved by Lebanon and the Kingdom.
These days, all of us are recalling Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, remembering how good the country was and how much there was work. We are all recalling the activity and tourism that filled Beirut.
Today, we gather, 14 years after the assassination crime, and 11 years after the start of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The dream of Rafic Hariri is still with us after all these years and his reconstruction, development and stability project, is still mentioned by each Lebanese who wants to see the country full of work.
After few months, the verdict session in the case of Martyr Premier and his companions will be held. Now we can say that 2019 will be the year of justice that we have been waiting for to know the truth.
Many say that the truth is known and the verdict is a proclamation of a known thing. But for us, the truth won't be the truth if it not issued clearly and officially by the Special Tribunal.
We don't see and don't accept to see the verdict as a way to take revenge. The verdict is the road to justice and the refusal to cover up the truth no matter how harsh it is.
Rafic Hariri was not martyred so the country is destroyed. Rafic Hariri's martyrdom unified the Lebanese and we won't give anyone the chance to use the verdict as a tool of sedition between the Lebanese.
Those who killed Rafic Hariri aimed at sabotaging Lebanon. They wanted to prevent the Lebanese from asking to lift the hands off the country. Those who killed him knew what it mean when a man like him, with his relations, capability and popularity, stands in the face of those who want to confiscate the decision of the country.
All intimidation attempts didn't work. They launched the most violent political and media campaigns against him; they blocked his project and threatened him with imprisonment, expulsion from the country and breaking Beirut on his head but all this didn't work so they killed him.
Fourteen years later, Rafic Hariri is still in the minds and sentiments of millions of Lebanese and Arabs and of the world.
First, because Rafic Hariri is unforgettable, you knew him, loved him and lived with him. Second because the assassination of Rafic Hariri was an attempt to assassinate Lebanon's dream. And we have been seeing the result for 14 years.
Since 2005, the country is facing disruption, crises, disagreements, and regression in services, growth, work and job opportunities. This is why so many people, when frustrated, ask: Where are you Rafic? Where is the dream?
Rafic Hariri didn't return to the country to participate in the war, make sectarian alignments or make one confession prevail over others. After the Taef Accord, Rafic Hariri returned to the country to revive the role of the state, the institutions and legitimacy. He returned with the finest youth and expertise from all sects to contribute to ending the war. To build and open schools, universities and roads.
He returned to say that Lebanon is a republic with institutions, laws and a constitution. That Lebanon is a country of coexistence and not an open arena for the war of others and the struggle of sects over power. He put a helmet on his head to remove the barricades between East and West Beirut. To tell us that we are the sons of one country and no one is greater than his country.
During all his history and ours, there was not a single drop of blood on our hands, but we paid heavily with the blood of our best symbols and youth. We never used weapons or opened training centers for gunmen, but we opened the door to more than forty thousand young men and women, who constituted the biggest army of graduates from universities all over Lebanon and the world.
Today, we have a big workshop in the government and Parliament. People talk everyday about the faults and shortcomings, starting with electricity, environment, services, squandering, smuggling etc. We spent ten years tying the fate of our country to the fate of the wars in the region. We paid the price from our political, economic and social stability. Today we are at a crossroad. Either continue to drown in disputes over shares or we decide to start the workshop. Time is not for showing off our strengths or settling accounts because people are bored of hearing repeated words. The time when you can talk with a loud voice and gain popularity is long gone and doesn't build a state or take the garbage from the streets.
The time of overbidding about honesty and integrity while accusing others day and night doesn't work anymore especially with the new generation who wants work, job opportunities, procedures and laws that fight squander and corruption. The youth wants a clean country and not micro-states for parties and sects.
We have a clear program with clear funding and mechanisms based on transparency and reforms. There is no chance for waste or for the thieves of shares and opportunities. It is an investment program in projects and services in all regions, especially the deprived regions.
I am addressing all the Lebanese, our people in Akkar, whom I personally represent in the government, and our people in Menie, Denniye and all the North; our people in Mount Lebanon, the Bekaa from Baalbek to Hermel, West and Central Bekaa; to our people in Sidon, the South and Beirut, who are waiting for solutions for electricity, waste and traffic.
If any region or person feels not represented in the government, I Saad Hariri am at the service of all regions and people. Rest assured that the work program has no sectarian or regional identity but Lebanese identity par excellence for all people and regions.
This program did not just come in the ministerial statement. It was not smuggled to cabinet. The government has been working on this plan for more than one year and a half. It was presented to all political parties and factions and came after meetings with more than 1600 municipalities at the Grand Serail.
The program is a Lebanese product par excellence, and the CEDRE Conference adopted it, provided that the state commits to the rules of transparency and reforms and the monitoring of the competent international bodies to implement the projects. Which means, the Arab and international community stood by us, and made us shoulder the responsibility of correction and implementation. The ball is in our court, and the challenge is on everyone. I regard it as a personal challenge to the presidency, to me, to the government and to Parliament.
There is talk that the country is
gathering more debt, and the state is offering itself for sale. This is talk has nothing to do with the economy and the investment program. It aims at nagging and blocking work and comes from the old books of obstruction... Personally, I will not remain silent vis a vis of any attempt to block the work and obstruct the government program.
Everyone says the situation is no longer acceptable ... Let everyone kindly take part in the rescue workshop. There is no room for outbidding, at the expense of the state and the people. If we cannot find solutions in the Council of Ministers and Parliament for the problems of the country, nor are we able to implement the reforms and secure the services, then it is better to go home. The government today seeks Parliament's confidence. On this occasion, I would like to address you, the supporters of Rafic Hariri and the Future movement, to ask again for your confidence.
This trust is dear to my heart, I will carry it with me tomorrow to Parliament. We want work. If others want outbidding, let them bear the responsibility. In this field, we hope for "zero" problems in the Council of Ministers and with all the partners in the country because nothing should prevail over the stability of the country and over ending the farce of electricity cuts, the waste and sewage problems and garbage and corruption.
I am not asking to stop the debate on the government's program and on key issues in the country. Because there can't be a normal and healthy political life without discussion, dialogue, opposition and exchange of ideas. But it is not reasonable, after all the hard work exerted at the CEDRE Conference and with the international community, to return to the politics of no solutions or that the Council of Ministers returns to political unkindness. President Aoun, speaker Berri and I decided to turn the Council of Ministers and Parliament into a work cell.
There is an opportunity that we are not allowed to miss. We know the problem and the solution. The decision is in our hands and so is the implementation. Either we all deal with the challenge and cooperate, and I emphasize on "all", to give the country a real rescue opportunity, or we leave the country drowning in a Byzantine debate.
Economic and social security is as important as political security. For this reason, I am extending my hand to cooperate with all leaders and parties without exception. I know in advance that there are controversial issues that we cannot simply remove from our lives. The Ministerial Statement approached a number of issues on the basis of rounding the angles, and we found textual solutions to many controversial issues.
Today I want to underscore three things:
First, the Taif Agreement, which is the constitution, the formula of national accord and the basis for coexistence between the Lebanese. Taif is mentioned clearly and directly in the ministerial statement, in a way that can't be subject to interpretation. If we want to be frank, we can say that deviating from Taif was taking place in the days of the Syrian guardianship, through the intervention in all the affairs of the state. Today, we hear clear discourse from His Excellency the President about Taif, and a frank and responsible language from other leaders that ensure the commitment to Taif and not deviating from it. This goes as far as abandoning views such as the constituent assembly and others. In any case, Saad Hariri will not abandon Taif, or accept the breach of Taif. We are the guardians of the Taif agreement, today and tomorrow!
Second, the issue of the displaced Syrians whereby the interest of the country lies in their return to their country in a dignified and safe manner. The best thing we can do for the displaced is to work for their return to their country, voluntarily, and I emphasize on the world voluntary. Our openness to the Russian initiative goes in this direction and the international community is required to take additional practical steps that end the tragedy of the displacement and alleviate social, service and financial burdens from the state in all regions.
My conviction is that the regime in Syria wants to take revenge on the displaced and is imposing conditions on their return.
The subject is not related to us. Look at Jordan. The state is in contact with the regime without getting serious results. Even Turkey that officially announced that there are security contacts between it and the regime, did not reach any result.
Let no one outbid, because there is coordination between some security apparels in Lebanon and the Syrian side to activate the return of the displaced, because our goal is simply their return to their country and to end their harsh living conditions. But we cannot accept under any circumstances that our country be a tool to hand over the displaced so they become hostages of the regime.
The third thing that I want everyone to hear well, because there is a lot of talk about axed in the region: Lebanon, dear brothers and sisters, is not a state affiliated with any axis and is not an arena for the arms race in the region.
Lebanon is an independent Arab state. It has a constitution, laws, institutions, and Arab and international commitments; a state that affirmed its commitment to disassociation. Anything other than this is a point of view that does not obligate the state or the Lebanese. Long live Lebanon.
Source: National News Agency