Dear Ambassador Salam, Archbishop Migliore, members of the United Nations Security Council, and Friends:
Thank you for graciously taking the time to welcome and meet with me today. I hope and pray that Lebanon will benefit from our joint efforts.
The issues facing our beloved Lebanon are many. These days are particularly difficult. Last week we witnessed acts of violence and the illegitimate use of force to achieve political ends. This is completely unacceptable and should never happen again.
In addition, I propose the following matters for your consideration and support.
First and foremost we need all of our constitutional institutions to be active and effective. The election of a President is a dire need and must remain a top priority. The Parliament should open its doors to play its proper role in dealing with all constitutional matters. The Cabinet has been suffering from the boycott of an essential confession because they feel they have not been listened to. We hope the United Nations will intervene with all member states to facilitate the normal and proper functioning of the Lebanese government. Lebanon by nature is pluralistic, a country governed by a consensual democracy. This special character of Lebanon should be safeguarded and never lost.
Second, we need to be assured that neighboring countries will not attack, invade, or compromise the sovereignty of Lebanon. We do not want Lebanon to suffer from the conflict of others on its own land. We need Israel to cooperate fully with the United Nations, to stop its military flights over Lebanese airspace, and to cooperate in the removal of land mines and unexploded cluster bombs from Lebanese soil.
Third, the issue of the Shebaa Farms needs to be resolved according to the Seven Point Plan of the Lebanese government.
Likewise, the demarcation of the Lebanon-Syria boundaries, and the normalization of diplomatic relations between our countries should be established.
Fourth, the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon should not be forgotten by the international community. Lebanon according to its constitution cannot assume the full burden of their refugee status.
Fifth, we seek the concerted efforts of all people and nations for the full implementation of all United Nations resolutions pertaining to Lebanon.
Lastly, may I say a special word of thanks for the United Nation’s Peace Keeping Forces in Lebanon. They have made and continue to make an important contribution for the security and stability of Lebanon.
Excellencies and dear friends of Lebanon be assured of our deepest gratitude for your role in defending Lebanon’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Thank you most sincerely.
Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir,
Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
(Reprinted with permission.)