BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam Tuesday called on rival leaders to resume dialogue, saying talks were the only means capable of producing compromise to resolve political crises.
"We are asked to reconsider our differences so that they could be a source of national enrichment rather than political crises,” Salam said, during a lunch at the Grand Serail in honor of Saudi Ambassador Ali Awad Asiri who will depart his mission this week.
“The only solution is via dialogue that is capable of producing compromise. Any project allowing one group to dominate the other is a risk that threatens Lebanon's infrastructure.”
Salam once again commended Saudi Arabia for donating $1 billion to the Lebanese Army to combat terrorism and extremism, saying the grant only demonstrated Riyadh’s policy toward Lebanon, "which aims to strengthen the state and its constitutional institutions, including its legitimate forces."
“We are gathered here today to bid farewell to an Arab brother who will leave us in the next few days after living among us for five years. He went through the good and bad times with us, and the bad times in our country are unfortunately plenty.”
The honorary lunch was attended by a number of officials and Cabinet ministers including former presidents, Michel Sleiman and Amin Gemayel, as well as former Prime Minister Fouad Sinora and several foreign and Arab envoys.
Asiri, who Salam presented a shield to, thanked Lebanese officials for their hospitality, saying he relentlessly worked to represent his country and safeguard its interests while developing ties with Lebanon.
"Despite the fact that I am moving to Pakistan to become the new ambassador, Lebanon will remain in my mind and brain,” he said in his farewell speech.
"I will always follow news from this country not only because of Lebanon’s importance in terms of politics and security but also stemming from Saudi Arabia' keenness for Lebanon to enjoy security and stability.”
"I will allow myself to give a brotherly advice: Love Lebanon, preserve it, rise above your difference, engage in dialogue and reconcile ... I am not trying to impose anything on you but this is a call from a person who is fond of Lebanon.”