Key Speeches

Introduction > Placing the cornerstone of Down Town – September 21, 1994

For balanced and integral development
Dear friends,
It is impossible to bring back the past; yet, beautiful to lay the foundation for the future.
We offer our efforts to recover from the war and its scars a gift of loyalty to those who have fought for our independence and for the survival of our nation. We tell them, your sacrifices have not gone in vain.
Our efforts to build a future are also a gift to the generations to come, we tell them Lebanon is proud of you, protect its future. Our fathers have settled an independent state; we must settle a peaceful country. Our trust in our nation grows when we are united and when we live with our fellow citizens regardless of their faith and religion.
The cornerstone that we are laying today is the grave marker on the wars and conflicts. This piece of rock is also the symbol of production and creativity. It is the cornerstone for a new era of progress.
For all those who died for Lebanon, we say that we are rebuilding Beirut from ruins to glory; we also tell them that Lebanon has won by the reunification of its people.
Beirut has been the city of creativity and the beacon in the Middle East.  It has also been the source of openness and cultural coexistence
Beirut will again become the city of the free; where religions can coexist, where education and culture will prosper. Beirut will again be the center of sciences and arts and will regain its position as the hospital of the East.
Beirut will again be a financial center and a hub for free trade in the region. Beirut will again be the city of justice and the mother of laws. The tragedies have destructed the port and city, but peace has reigned again and Beirut will once more shine in this region and in the world.
My fellow Lebanese,
The future is clear and it’s no longer time to cry about the past for those who cry will slow down the process just like the assailants.
The efforts of all those who have taken part in the destruction remain unseen before a loyal citizen who is working hard to restore his land and country. We have to work for our country, we have to resist as we ask ourselves, what have we done to our fellow citizens?
Let us all stand together to rebuild our capital Beirut, this magnificent city that we all love. Let us build it to preserve our common past and be a modern place for our future generations. Let us build a city that combines commitments to duties and search for the better.
A city that merges beauty with patriotic, economic, social and cultural energy, and a city that unites the citizens with society so as to prosper democracy and advance the return of immigrants and the displaced.
Beirut will no longer be a battlefield; it shall turn into a source of dialogue.
I call upon you all to join the efforts, let us work, as we are racing with time.
Even if some of you were capable of offering more than others, Lebanon needs the potentials of all its citizens. Let us work not only on rebuilding the infrastructure and productive sectors but also on rebuilding our own human principles and values that we have forgotten during all these years of fighting.
Let us build our society on three main pillars: principles over personal interests, solidarity over competition and social stability over balance of powers. 
The world is changing and it would be a huge mistake to miss this opportunity to build a modern country.
This is how we will be able to create a civilization of peace and justice. Let us work for justice, for justice liberates and unites us all.
And as much as the importance of national unity outweighs reconstruction, balanced reconstruction promotes and endorses national unity.
Criticism must not hinder our progress. For those who criticize our plans we say: let your criticisms be constructive and help us make our plans better.
For those who agree with our plans, we say help us to reinforce them.
For those who believed in their country and insisted on staying during the war and who are expecting a lot from the road to peace and construction, we tell them: the past is our roots and not our grave.
Dear friends,
It is by following a realistic policy that we will succeed in rebuilding a model country. We have to start by laying the foundation to a healthy economy that will in turn help us build healthy social and political systems:
Re-establishing our economy is the key to resolving issues and rebuilding coexistence by restoring balance to the sectors and geographic areas is a must,
Social solidarity is strengthened by developmental integration and the future of a peaceful society lies also in our effort to bring the displaced back to their villages and lands, and to bring emigration to a halt.
Let us step over the years of war and move to reconstructing Lebanon, the country that has worked hard for its own well-being as well as other’s.
Beloved Lebanese,
If we have criticized the peace agreements between separate Arab nations and Israel, it was because we believe that peace compromises are compromises on peace.
The above stance has convinced Israel today to implement international resolutions, sit at the negotiation table and take the road toward a just and comprehensive peace agreement with Lebanon and Syria together.
By rebuilding Beirut from its ruins we are preparing ourselves to recover our occupied territories in the South and Eastern Bekaa, and we will in turn reconstruct and modernize all of Lebanon under the wings of an independent and sovereign state.
Fellow Lebanese,
Let us start building our nation and be sure that Lebanon is a guarantee to the Lebanese, and it is through our hard work that we will be able to create the Lebanon of the future.

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