It is both an honour and a pleasure to be here today to unveil a bust honouring the great Lebanese philosopher, artist, writer and poet Gibran Khalil Gibran, one of the most important figures of all time in literature and art.
Khalil Gibran’s work was a revelation and an inspiration for many generations, and encouraged true diversity of thought. He influenced the lives of millions of people around the world, expressing the importance of kindness, compassion for others, expression of gratitude, and helping others in need. Exactly what Lebanese people represent.
Khalil Gibran, through his writing and books, has helped many people come to the realisation of remembering the importance of those around us. The people of Cyprus will always be grateful for Lebanon’s support in the aftermath of the Turkish military invasion in 1974.
Cyprus, in its part, provided a safe destination to thousands of Lebanese refugees fleeing the civil war, many of whom opted to settle here and today call Cyprus their home.
Only those who have experienced first-hand the deprivation of war and invasion, and the resulting sense of loss, can truly appreciate what others in a similar predicament are going through. These circumstances created a special bond between the people of Cyprus and Lebanon.
Cyprus and Lebanon have historically enjoyed excellent bilateral relations and a mutually beneficial cooperation.
I wish to assure you that my Government is resolved to expand these sound relations which are essential in ensuring stability, security and prosperity in our region. I am confident that our partnership will be further strengthened as we already explore new areas of cooperation between the two countries in an array of fields such us tourism, education and energy, always within a spirit of mutual understanding and respect.
Let me reaffirm, Your Excellency, that in Cyprus, as an EU member, you have a strong ally promoting the importance of the partnership between Lebanon and the European Union.
Within this context, we welcome the adoption, on 15th November, of the EU – Lebanon Partnership Priorities for the period until 2020, as well as of the Compact Agreement, a renewed framework for political dialogue and enhanced cooperation in various fields which will help Lebanon address the many challenges it is faced with today.
The visit of the Foreign Minister of Cyprus and Greece to Beirut last month, the first from EU member states after the presidential elections in Lebanon, reflects the level of our relations and the importance we attach to them.
Given the opportunity, I would like to congratulate, once again, President Michel Aoun on his election and we hope that under his guidance and leadership, Lebanon will be able to find the necessary stability for the benefit of Lebanese people and the wider region.
As you all know, we are at a critical juncture in the negotiation process for the solution of the Cyprus problem, which requires bold political decisions. A solution, which, as we have so many times repeated, needs to take into account the legitimate sensitivities and concerns of both communities of Cyprus, leaving neither winners nor losers.
I wish to, yet again, reiterate that I remain committed and determined to reach a comprehensive and viable settlement to the Cyprus problem, and at this point, please allow me to express my sincere appreciation for Lebanon’s unwavering support in our efforts through the years.
I wish to send a message of peace and hope for Cyprus and the new generations, similar to those expressed in Gibran’s writings.
Khalil Gibran once said “Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream”. My dream is to see the reunification of my island. Of our island.
Once again, I would like to express my gratitude to His Excellency Ambassador Youssef Sadaka for the honour to unveil a bust honouring the great Khalil Gibran and best wishes for personal health and family happiness to the Lebanese community in Cyprus, the amicable people of Lebanon and all of you gathered here today.
Source: Press and Information Office