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Paris 3 for All Lebanon
Posted on: 1/8/2007 10:29:00 AM

Despite Lebanon's internal crisis, with sit-ins in the heart of the capital Beirut crippling the economy, everybody in Lebanon pin high hopes on the Paris 3 conference scheduled for January 25.


Despite the challenges Lebanon is facing; the political divisions, and the Syrian and Iranian interferences in its affairs through their supporters there, a one-off opportunity lies ahead for world solidarity with and support to Lebanon through this conference, chaired by and overwhelmingly backed by French President Jacques Chirac.


The question now is: could the internal situation in Lebanon lead to the cancellation of this conference?


It is hopped that this ominous possibility would never come true, as Paris 3 is, indeed, the last chance for Lebanon and all the Lebanese.


The conference aims to help the Lebanese people come through an extremely complex set of financial phases and deadlines given the fact that the Lebanese treasury is almost bankrupt. Unlike 2006, 2007 is the due date of significant Lebanese debts that mount to about $3 billion. It is noteworthy here that, throughout its history, Lebanon has always honored its debt due dates, even during the Civil War.


In light of the current financial state of the country, as the Central Bank of Lebanon tries to meet the country's bills and financial commitments, Lebanon should be rescued from the danger of insolvency.


It is also unfortunate that the sit-ins, the demonstrations, and the political uncertainty are directly contributing to the economic collapse; either in the form of warding off Arab tourists in the holiday season, or through paralyzing the economic activities in the country's commercial center, where most of these economic activities take place.


Since no Lebanese would contribute to the collapse of his national economy, efforts must be exerted to preserve some confidence in Lebanon. This confidence means that Lebanon manages to pay off its debts and overcome the current tough circumstances. Therefore, the good will of all sides must unite to guarantee the Paris 3 conference is held in time as scheduled.


Everybody in Lebanon should be interested in holding this conference. It must be kept aside from all their disagreements, in order to ensure its success. This conference is decisive as it would breathe life into a nation almost suffocated.


The West is not the only source of international support to Lebanon through this conference. Rich Arab states concerned for Lebanon, as well as the Muslim world, are also expected to give backing.


If the Paris 3 conference manages to raise enough funds from participating donors, Lebanon will be able to easily fulfill its financial commitments in time, and devise its economic plan.


If the country's political situation and security developments called off this conference, then Lebanon would be facing a new disaster, which not a single Lebanese would like.


As to the allies of Syria and Iran, it is not in their best interests that Lebanon collapses from within, either. Such collapse would only be in the interest of those who do not want an international tribunal.


The Lebanese internal situation is the responsibility of all sides, and any party, supporting any side, whether Syria or Iran, would be severely undermining its own interests by working for the collapse of Lebanon into bankruptcy. With the collapse of Lebanon, nobody would have a role to play.


What we hope, then, is that the Paris 3 conference is held as scheduled, and that the Lebanese Resistance stand up against attempts from without to thwart or call it off. The current international mobilization is a unique opportunity for Lebanon, especially as President Chirac's term of office has a few months to go.


Therefore, the Lebanese people are strongly requested to join hands in an effort to save their country from economic and political bankruptcy. (By Randa Takieddin, Al-Hayat)


2007 Presidency of the Council of Ministers. All Rights Reserved.
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