Concluding address by the President of the Republic at the international conférence on support for Lebanon.

Concluding address by M. Jacques CHIRAC, President of the Republic at the international conférence on support for Lebanon.

Translation : arabic - french

Paris, thursday 25 january 2007

Ladies and gentlemen,

At the close of what has been a day of intensive and fruitful work, I wish to thank you for your highly constructive statements. They send out a particularly strong message of support and hope to the Lebanese people. They are also an eloquent sign for the whole region of our commitment to the stability of that part of the world.

All those statements confirm the international community's resolute commitment in favour of a sovereign, independent and democratic Lebanon. A Lebanon that must also meet the challenges of reconstruction and reform if its independence is to take root in prosperity and justice.

After the adoption of resolution 1701, after the Stockholm Conference, today's meeting is a further stage, and one I hope will be of determining importance, in Lebanon's renewal. It is also an expression of concrete support for the action of the Lebanese government, whose sense of responsibility and ambition has been emphasised by all participants.

That action can only be undertaken with a focus on the long term. The physical reconstruction of infrastructures and housing, as well as the reinvigoration of the economy and settlement of the public debt issue demand prolonged coordination of the efforts of all. It is throughout the entire five-year period of the Lebanese reform programme that we must mobilise our efforts to the full to assist in the economic and social modernisation of Lebanon. Modernisation that must, if it is to be accomplished, be carried out with the help of all political forces in the country and for the benefit of all Lebanese citizens.

The help given by the international community must of course be underpinned by robust principles and straightforward mechanisms aimed at guaranteeing high quality for the management of the funds and transparency in their utilisation. In this regard, the rapid signing of a post-conflict emergency assistance programme with the International Monetary Fund will facilitate disbursement of the international aid over time, in the light of the milestones we have considered today to be decisive for the implementation of reform.

With crucial action by the IMF, the World Bank and the European institutions, and thanks especially to the support of Arab countries friendly to Lebanon and to that from the United States, and lastly, thanks to you all, this very significant level of aid should make it possible to address the Lebanese economy's funding difficulties, beginning in the present year. But it will also permit comprehensive and sustained assistance to be provided for the modernisation of Lebanon over the next five years.

Particularly striking announcements have been made by various participants. I salute this swift and substantive response from the international community to the undertakings given by the Lebanese government, and to the measures indicated for dealing with the public debt held by Lebanese economic agents. And here I should like to pay homage to the efforts made in this direction by the Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon.

I thank you all for your participation in this conference and for having directed your efforts at making it a complete success from all points of view.

And lastly, I thank the Lebanese authorities for the high quality of their own participation, and extend to them an assurance of my esteem for their courageous work to aid the entire population of Lebanon. All Lebanese citizens must realise that indispensable support from the international community presupposes a national consensus on economic and social reforms imperative for the future of the country and on the implementation of those reforms as soon as possible.

Throughout all the ordeals it has suffered, Lebanon has always been capable of finding the strength to pick itself up. I have no doubt that with the help of all of us, it will succeed once again in surprising us with the vigour of its renaissance.

Thank you.

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