The Inquirer (Monrovia)

26 November 2012

Liberia: 'They Believe Too Much in Liberia'

The Charge d' Affaires of Lebanon accredited to Liberia, Mansour Chaya has stressed the importance of the ties between his country and the tiny West African state of Liberia.

Speaking at the 69th Anniversary of the Independence of Lebanon; Amb. Chaya said Lebanese have been in Liberia for decades with many of them refusing to leave the country even in the darkest hours adding, "And this was not only because they have interest here, but because they grew to love and respect Liberia and consider it as their home."

The Lebanese envoy said, "We believe so much in Liberia that they have invested all their lives here and they are directly involved in the efforts to rebuild this beautiful country and put its economy back on track. They will answer present when they are needed and will take initiatives in all areas that the government of Liberia considers vital for the economy and the prosperity of the country," Amb. Chaya intimated.

He said Lebanese in Liberia have done it in the past noting, "They are doing it today and they will keep doing it in the future indeed. We will continue to act and prove ourselves as Liberia's true partners in progress."

Amb. Chaya said on November 22, 1943 Lebanon gained her independence and since then the country has experienced numerous events that only made them stronger. He said Lebanon was and always will be a pioneer in the Arab world in matters related to liberty, freedom of speech and democracy.

He said despite all the differences, the Lebanese chose dialogue as the only way to deal with all important matters. Amb. Chaya pointed out, "Indeed, under the auspices of His Excellence, President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, a round table of national dialogue was set into place to discuss all issues related to the future of Lebanon.

"All Lebanese have high hopes on the outcome of the National dialogue, for it's the only civilized way to achieve all what our citizens aspire to, and bring Lebanon, once more, to an age of prosperity. In this same line of policies, Lebanon reaffirmed since the beginning of 2011 its "policy of self-distance" from all events that took place in our region; Lebanon will never allow itself to interfere in the internal affairs of any country, nor will it allow any of its citizens to do so," he pointed out.

He added that Lebanon and Liberia are two very similar countries in their history adding, "In their values, in their constant quest for liberty, independence and prosperity, as you say: "The love of liberty brought us here" what powerful words, in fact, Lebanon overcame a 15-year civil war in 1990. We endured and suffered deeply from that war, but at the end the Lebanese people triumphed."

Among other things, Amb. Chaya intimated, "Lebanese immigration to Africa and especially West Africa isn't recent.., we are talking of decades and decades of Lebanese presence here, and in some cases like Liberia we can talk of a second generation of Lebanese; they were born here, they live here and believe me, in some cases they don't know Lebanon as well as they know Liberia, it might sound shocking for some, but Lebanese immigrants have always had special bonds with each and every Country they lived in, and this in itself is a proof of our peaceful and open nature."

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