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Siniora hails UAE support to Lebanon in all fields

posted on 10/10/2009: 2243 views

Beirut - Caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has paid a glowing tribute to the role played by the UAE leadership over supporting Lebanon in all fields.

Addressing a press conference held here today in presence of UAE Ambassador to Lebanon Rahma Hussein Al Zaabi and Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, Deputy Director of the UAE Project UAE Project to Support and Build Lebanon, Siniora lauded President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for their roles in assisting Lebanon in the humanitarian, developmental, economic, health and educational fields.

"The UAE assistance to Lebanon in the wake of Israeli aggression had played pivotal role in the reconstruction and rebuilding of the damages and had helped in the development of Lebanon in the recent years", he added. Siniora noted that the UAE launched a number of initiatives to assist Lebanon in demining of the cluster bombs in South Lebanon after the Israeli war as per the directives from Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, adding that the support of the UAE to Lebanon complements the course outlined by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The demining project, he continued, has cleared large lands from the risks posed by the cluster bombs left by the Israelis, indicating that the life was normalised in those areas.

Siniora said he was briefed by Al Zaabi and Al Ghafli on the report of construction of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Hospital in Shaba town in South Lebanon, pointing out that the project is a pride to all the Lebanese in regard to its latest medical equipment and premises.

He told the Lebanese National News Agency that "UAE Envoy and deputy director of the UAE Project to support and build Lebanon visited me today morning to brief me about the construction of Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Shaba town in South. The hospital is a gift from the UAE to Lebanon. It will contribute considerably in rendering medical services to people in Shaba and surrounding districts, who have been suffering from the Israeli aggressions since 1960s.

Siniora said "we talked with the UAE envoy about the pioneer project initiated by the UAE to demine the cluster bombs, following the Israeli aggression in 2006. The project was implemented in the sixth zone between Litani River and Jazeen, Nabatia and Hasbia areas.

Siniora thanked the UAE and President Sheikh Khalifa for what has been achieved so far, adding that the UAE is a genuine friend, citing that in Paris 3rd Conference, the UAE pledged US$300 million as easy long term loan- the offer had effective role in supporting Lebanon. He added that the UAE has also dispatched huge quantities of urgent relief aid and set up a number of charity projects. It set up health centres and provided medicines and food stuff items to those affected.

In field of the reconstruction, Siniora continued, the UAE provided assistance to contribute in the reconstruction of infrastructure in a number of the affected towns and villages. It restored water and electricity, repaired the fishing ports, reconstructed the damaged schools and hospitals.

"We all knew the UAE has provided to Lebanon military and security assistance to the Army and security authorities to safeguard the institutions and system in Lebanon. It has also provided Boma Planes, on which training is currently taking place, including vehicles and others to support the security and system in Lebanon", he said.

On social care levels, Siniora said, the UAE institutions and organisations such as the Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahayan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation and the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Charity Foundation, the Mohammed bin Rashid bin Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment and the UAE Red Crescent Authority, provided huge assistance to the Lebanese charity organisations.

He underlined that the Lebanese people would also remember the support of the UAE to Lebanon at the Arab and international forums, adding that the UAE has also opened its doors to tens of thousands of the Lebanese people. "We have been urging all the Lebanese in Arab and foreign countries to respect and abide by the law and sovereignty of each country they reside in. They won the confidence of those countries as per their efforts".

Siniora underlined that the UAE's concern has been to allow all Lebanese without discrimination to participate in the current huge development, adding that "what the UAE wants is that all who come into the country should respect the sovereignty of the country as others do ".

"We have always emphasised to our Lebanese brothers who work in different countries of the world, including the Arab countries, the need to maintain the reputation we built over the years with tears and efforts, and the importance of safekeeping our strong relations with the UAE and with all other countries," Siniora said.

"We are absolutely confident of the UAE's keenness to enhance these relations and to allow many Lebanese to participate in its progress." "During this time," he went on, "I received a group of Lebanese citizens who used to work in the UAE. They explained to me their case. I told them, and I am telling them again, that such a case could never be resolved through media as this would lead to nowhere. This case could only be resolved by rational communication and smooth diplomacy that is far from media uproar and tension, which may only lead to negative consequences, not only on those who had been deported but on the businesses of all Lebanese in different countries, unless we contained the effects." Siniora said he was seriously and extensively following up the matter with the concerned authorities in the UAE, "within the cooperation between the two countries and with complete understanding of everything that is based on facts for the UAE, a country that has full sovereignty." "We take care of the Lebanese citizens working in the UAE and we follow up their issues by adopting the right approach and by using the proper channels that lead into (tangible) results .. We are working towards resolving this issue by the right means that take into consideration respect for the law, for the country, and for the Lebanese interests. We are also seeking to settle this issue once and for all, and in a way that would not lead to any problems or any fallouts anywhere else, specially that we are marking completion of the huge programme implemented by the UAE during the past three years to deal with the aftermath of the Israeli war, thanks to the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and all officials. This shows how deep-rooted the relations of friendship between our two countries. We reiterate that Lebanon has always stood by the UAE and has always sought to ensure sovereignty of the UAE and respect of its laws by all Lebanese working there."

Asked if he had any message that Speaker of the Lebanese House of representatives Nabih Barri would convey when he visits the UAE next Monday, Siniora said: "Barri should be commended for his efforts. Certainly there is coordination between us as we make this effort through contacts with all officials. All this should culminate in achieving the aspired results that would get matters back to the right track in a way that would clearly ensure respect for the country's sovereignty and decisions, as well as respect for the Lebanese interests." He added by saying: "The UAE government is the only entity that has the rightful authority to decide on their country's affairs. We are in constant contacts with the UAE and we do table our issues and discuss all matters related to those Lebanese citizens."

"The decision is for the UAE, not for us. We are keen on the interests of Lebanese, but if the UAE took a certain decision that it sees emanating from its security interests or any other circumstances, then neither we, nor any other country, can interfere in that decision. Imagine that the Lebanese authorities took a decision to deport or to deny entry of a citizen of another country, we would not accept then interference from other country to force Lebanon to allow entry of that person, as this matter is about our sovereignty. On the other hand, we seek to safeguard interests of the Lebanese citizens."

On some people's attempts to establish a link between the outcome of the recent Saudi-Syrian summit, and the events that took place in Tripoli, Siniora said: "We cannot jump into conclusions. Some events seem to be personally motivated but at the end of the day, they all destabilise the security and exploited by trouble-makers to serve their goals. Some people want to work against the summit and its most remarkable outcome of enhancing Arab solidarity. It should be clear that of all Arab countries, Lebanon is the major beneficiary from any effort to mend Arab fences." "Whenever there are good relations among Arab countries, they reflect positively on Lebanon. That's why we support all efforts to that end. During my recent visit to Saudi Arabia, I lauded the step taken by President Bashar Al Asad of Syria when he visited Saudi Arabia. Likewise, we praised the visit made by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz to Syria. We say it time and again, Lebanon is interested in Arab rapprochement, and that any security breach is condemned and rejected. The Lebanese government's stand on this is firm and clear. The instruction for military and security forces is to hunt down perpetrators or anyone involved in such acts as they affect national security." On whether he will visit Damascus soon, Siniora said: I never said that I will not go to Syria. It is quite the contrary." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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