BEIRUT: Lebanon’s struggle against terrorism will not be over soon, Prime Minister Tammam Salam warned Monday, while stressing that electing a president and strengthening the state were top priorities.
“The battle against terrorism is still at its beginnings, and in these difficult conditions we ought to empower our political institutions and unite around our military,” Salam said in a speech at the Grand Serail during a ceremony celebrating the 94th anniversary of the announcement of Greater Lebanon.
“Fighting dark terrorism should be prioritized on the decision-making level, and confronting the murky wave is a long and complicated operation,” he added
Salam highlighted the strong link between presidential vacuum and national security.
“I again invite all political factions to elect a Christian Maronite president as a head of state, because this is how we fortify our home and revive our institutions,” he said.
Saying Lebanon had paid a huge price because of terrorism, the last of which was the attack on the eastern Arsal town, Salam promised the captive soldier’s families that Lebanon would dedicate all efforts toward freeing their sons.
“I tell the families of the captives: You are not alone, and all Lebanon stands by you,” he said. “Your sons represent our honor and splendor, and like they stood to defend the nation, we will all stand, hand in hand, until we free them.”
Salam praised Lebanon’s ability to overcome historical difficulties and remain as one entity, saying this could change if political parties did not unite on the project to strengthen the state.
“Ninety-four years and Lebanon has remained; it has passed through many crises, its land was occupied by enemy armies, its people emigrated many times, and it remained.”
“Men will eventually vanish, and political systems are subject to alternation and transformation, but Lebanon remains one and unified in the borders announced 94 years ago,” he said ending the speech, receiving a round of claps from top Lebanese officials and political leaders, including former President Michel Sleiman.