الاربعاء في ١٩ كانون الاول ٢٠١٨ ، آخر تحديث : 01:15 م
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Hariri: Fate of presidency is in the hands of the Lebanese, Our country will be ruled from Beirut, neither from Damascus nor Tehran
In his delivered speech marking the eleventh commemoration of the assassination of his late father, Martyr Rafic Hariri, held at "Biel" in Central Beirut on Sunday afternoon, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said:

"At the peak of the political siege and smearing campaigns organized by the tutelage era against Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, he came out to tell the Lebanese: The truth will prevail, no one is greater than his country.

You all know these words very well, because they are engraved in everyone's memory and reverberate whenever someone raises his voice against Lebanon.

The Syrian tutelage era can never fabricate leaders greater than Lebanon.

The era of the Iranian intimidation will never be able to create leaders greater than Lebanon.

No form of terrorism will be able to defeat Lebanon's unity.

No assassination will break our dreams of seeing Lebanon rise again.
Some do not like this phrase, because Martyr Prime Minister was the one who said it.

As for us, we gather on February 14 of each year, to declare aloud:
We will walk in your footsteps Abu Bahaa, and even if the haters hate this.

No one is greater than his country.

No one will be able to rob the Lebanese Republic, neither by using weapons to intimidate, nor through the terrorism of extremism, nor by violating the Constitution, nor through false military verdicts, nor through any means of disruption and chaos.

Lebanon is for all Lebanese, not for a group, a sect, a party, or a leader.

This is what must be clear to all those who are linking the country's fate to their own political and sectarian interests.

When they make Lebanon an arena for weapons chaos, sectarian sorting, law violation, and protection of criminals and outlaws, it is easy for them to disable the institutions, justify the presidential vacancy, invalidate the Baabda declaration, disregard the blood of the martyrs, and recruit thousands of young men to become involved in the Syrian war and brag about embodying the roles of the great powers.

Dear brothers, sisters and friends,
Political luxury is not allowed when the country is suffering presidential vacuum, when fires are raging around us, and when there is no one in the world extinguishing the fire but many rushing to pour oil over it.

There are those who decided to fight in the wrong places and under false slogans. If the State, and behind it the powers participating in the dialogue table, are unable to put an end to this imbalance, then this shortcoming requires us to raise the level of political objection to involving Lebanon in military conflicts, and call on the people of reason, wisdom and patriotism in the Shiite community to dismantle the most dangerous mines threatening coexistence.

Lebanon pays daily, from its progress and stability, the price of political improvisation, military intimidation, diplomatic subterfuge, economic and social confusion, irresponsible lunging to endanger the interests of Lebanon, and of the prejudice against sister nations led by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states that have never caused us any harm.

What reckless mind is behind these policies and this level of decadence in approaching brotherly relations? Are they parties working for God, or parties working for discord?

We are Arabs. We will not allow anyone to drag Lebanon into hostility towards Saudi Arabia and the Arab brethrens. Lebanon will not be, under any circumstance, an Iranian governorate.

We are Arabs, and Arabs we shall remain.

It would be better to calm down. It would be better if everyone spoke in a responsible way, and some leaders rested from using platforms to stir up sectarian instincts.

It would be better for all of us to address our political, social and economic problems, in a spirit of cooperation to save Lebanon.

In our vocabulary, the presidency of the Republic of Lebanon is much more a priority than the presidency of the Republic of Syria, Iraq or Yemen.
The country's interest lies in lifting the siege off the presidency, the government and the parliament, not in participating in besieging Madaya, Aleppo and the Syrian cities.

In this field, we had the boldness to take the initiative and move the stagnant political waters, from a logic that goes beyond the special interests of the Future Movement to Lebanon's interest to end the presidential vacancy.

The fate of the presidency is in the hands of the Lebanese.

The Presidency should be formed in Lebanon, at the hands of the Lebanese.

We have the courage to take a position and declare that we will not fear that any partner in the country becomes Head of State, as long as he commits to the Taif agreement, the Constitution and law, the protection of coexistence, and the priority of the national interest and integrity of Lebanon over regional projects.

In this regard, I would like to talk frankly: We started by saying that the vacancy is a catastrophe, and some are still saying 'no rush, 21 months of vacuum can become 24 or 36', they have no problem.

I ask each one of you to compare 2 moments. The moment the mandate of President Michel Sleiman, whom we salute, ended, and the present moment.

Can anyone tell me one thing that remained the same and did not deteriorate or worsen? One thing, on any level: socio-economic, work, food, health, garbage, politics, economy, social, tourism, order and civil peace, at any level.

Whoever ponders honestly for a moment, would know why I considered that my first and last duty is to end the presidential vacuum.

At that time, four of the Christian leaders gathered in Bkirki at the Maronite Patriarchate, which we highly respect, and agreed, under the patronage of Bkirki, that only one of these 4 can be accepted as candidate for the presidency.

We began our attempts to end the void by nominating Dr Samir Geagea, our candidate and March 14th candidate.

We attended the session and every session, 35 times, without any result and the vacuum remained.

Meanwhile, inside March 14, an idea was deliberated: if President Gemayel can be accepted by March 8, or by any component of March 8, then Dr. Geagea would withdraw his candidacy for the sake of President Gemayel.

This did not happen and the vacuum persisted.

Before that, we began dialogue with General Aoun that led to the formation of a new government, but we did not reach any result in the presidential issue. We did not nominate General Aoun, contrary to what some are saying today, we did not even promise him to support his candidacy, and the vacuum remained.

Among the four candidates, Minister Franjieh was the only one left.
Yes, after a year and a half of the vacuum, and after all parties, allies and foes, rejected the nomination of a consensual candidate other than the four who agreed together in Bkirki, we initiated dialogue with Minister Franjieh…after all doors were closed!

I met with Minister Franjieh in Paris, and we both came to an understanding. You have heard the details of this understanding from him, during his TV interview.

Minister Franjieh said precisely what was discussed at my residence:
The goal is to end the vacuum, and put an end to the deterioration, work on improving Lebanon's political, economic, social and security situation, and protect the system and civil peace.

Where is the mistake? Why are you surprised? What is my job? What is the legacy of Rafic Hariri other than to preserve order and peace and improve the lives of people?

A step that shuffled the cards? Yes. A step that forced everyone to remember the presidential vacancy and give it priority on the political scene…We are proud of this result…A step that led our allies, the Lebanese Forces, to reach a historical reconciliation, after 28 years, with the Free Patriotic Movement. We were the first to call for this reconciliation and the ones who welcomed it most.

We wish it had happened long ago, it would have spared the Christians and the Lebanese a lot...! A step that led Dr. Geagea to withdraw his candidacy and nominate General Aoun as the Lebanese Forces' candidate for the presidency, and it is his right and the right of General Aoun, in our democratic system and our Constitution.

Now we reached this point, great.
Where is the problem? Now we have three presidential candidates: Minister Franjieh, General Aoun and MP Henri Helou. There may be other candidates too.

We have a Constitution, and a democratic system that says: Go to the Parliament and elect a candidate, unless your real candidate is "the vacuum."

Just like every time in 21months and 35 sessions, we will be the first to attend the session to elect a president. And whoever is elected, we will be the first to congratulate him. I will be the first to congratulate the President and the first to congratulate Lebanon on the elections. It is as simple as that.

But to hold us responsible for the vacuum after 21 months of disrupting the electoral sessions and say that either the Future Movement declares General Aoun as its candidate or the vacuum will continue and there is no hurry, this is not accepted by anyone! You boycott every session, block the quorum, want to know the result beforehand and want to hold us the responsible?

By the way, we do not accept anyone telling us that it is our constitutional right to boycott the parliamentary sessions to justify his unconstitutional boycott, because the constitutional right is not mine, neither his nor the right of anyone. The constitutional right belongs to the constitution, the country and the citizens.

This is the presidency of the republic! It is not my, or your, constitutional right to boycott the session to elect the President, and impose the vacancy on the presidency and the people.

My constitutional duty, and yours, is to go to parliament to elect a president and put an end to the vacuum. They cannot give us lessons in loyalty to allies, while they are covering things up. It is nice to be loyal to allies, but what is the use of loyalty if it is at the expense of Lebanon's interest, and if it aims at keeping the country without a president?

True loyalty is loyalty towards Lebanon, because being loyal to Lebanon is at the essence of being loyal to the allies and to all Lebanese.

And they want to blame us for not playing any regional role? Yes we are not playing any regional role and we are proud of that. We have no role in the Syrian bloodshed, the Iraqi and the Yemeni bloodshed. If this is an accusation, then it is accepted and we are proud of it.

We say out loud that our only role is in moderation, dialogue and looking for solutions, in Lebanon and the Arab world. This is what Rafic Hariri taught us. Others want to play military roles and drown in the blood of Arab people. They want to send young Lebanese men to die outside the borders; this is their problem and not our shame; it is their crime not our guilt. Do you want to tell us that this is also a constitutional right?

I reiterate: We are committed and when we commit we continue to the end. We are sincere. We want a President and we want to put an end to the vacancy, and we have paid the price both internally and externally. We attended each and every parliamentary session and will continue to do so until a president is elected and the vacuum is ended.

Everyone will know that Rafic Hariri was right, today more than before: no one is greater than his country.

Today, we remember our great Martyr Rafic Hariri who sacrificed his life for the sake of Lebanon, the state and for you. We recall all our martyrs: Bassel, Samir, Georges, Gibran, Pierre, Walid, Antoine, Wissam, Wissam and Mohammed. Did they die for the sake of the state or for private projects?

Today, we reiterate our commitment to our martyrs, their right, their blood, and their legacy, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the state, the national project and Rafic Hariri's national project. We will remain committed because we are a national project and because the Future Movement refuses to turn into a sectarian project. Our project is to open the doors between the Lebanese and open horizons and hopes for Lebanon and the Lebanese. We don't raise barricades, walls and fences between alleyways, souls and sects. We are a national cross-sectarian project, especially when the others are a sectarian project that crosses over nations.

Brothers and sisters, youth of the Future Movement and March 14,
The twinning between February 14 and March 14 was an act of faith in the ability of the Lebanese to produce a national situation that rises in its conduct and objectives over the sectarian interests. It reflects the fusion of the vivacious forces from the various sects in a comprehensive national project that renews the confidence in the role of the state and its ability to manage public affairs.

February 14 is a day for Rafic Hariri and all those who martyred with him and drew with their blood the epic of March 14, which will remain a symbol of the revolt against the Syrian tutelage era and the rejection of all types of alternative tutelages.

It is difficult for me and for the brothers and sisters in the Future Movement that this day would come amidst an unstable atmosphere within March 14th Forces, and that discrepancy in points of view overcome the constants that we agree on. It is an occasion to call on March 14th Forces, starting with the Future Movement, to carry out an internal review, which the General Secretariat could work on, and that would address all aspects of the relationship between the forces of the Independence uprising, in order to protect this exceptional experience in Lebanon's history.

Lebanon's destiny is in our hands and Lebanon will be ruled from Lebanon and not from Damascus, Tehran or any other place. We have been together for the last eleven years defending the State and its sovereignty.
Our weapon is the Constitution, the law, the political stance, the spirit of national unity embodied by March 14, and the sacrifices of martyrs who are from Lebanon's finest men.

Today, Lebanon is calling us once again in the name of Rafic Hariri and all the other martyrs. The danger surrounding it cannot be faced with folded arms. If Rafic Hariri taught us something, it is to preserve Lebanon's role and integrity. We will not give us this trust and will initiate to save our country.

We follow the steps of the man who sacrificed himself for Lebanon and dedicated himself to serve his country and defend the rights of its people. We chose to continue the road that Rafic Hariri wanted, the road of education, construction, freedom, reconciliation and human and social dignity.

We will offer sacrifice for the sake of national interest, but everyone should know that sacrifice has redlines which we know how to draw, and when to draw and defend in the face of those who encroach the State's dignity and integrity.

This is Rafic Hariri and this is the national Harirism, which has the honor to be present in all regions, sects and classes, and which has the honor of building and regaining Lebanon's role in the world. My promise to you is that we will remain together, regardless of the challenges, to meet what national duty requires, and the right of the Lebanese to unity, stability and decent life.

A final word, I want each and every one of you to listen well and think about it. All of you know that for each crucial decision, I ask myself one question: What would Rafic Hariri have done if he were in my place today?

Today and specifically on February 14, I have only one real truth: I wish Rafic Hariri was standing in front of you instead of me...Long live Lebanon!"
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