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Part 1
The first part of a series of five books entitled ‘Issam Fares, the Deputy Former Prime Minister of Lebanon’ has been issued. The 307-page book includes a series of stances adopted and activities undertaken by Mr. Issam Fares in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon from October 26, 2000 till October 26, 2001.

The book includes an introduction and the five following chapters: The Stances, the Ministerial Committees, the Diplomatic Reunions, the Political, Social, & Developmental Meetings; and the Foreign Trips. The book’s introduction summarizes, in brief, a year full of hectic but productive activities undertaken at various levels.

1-The Ministerial Committees
Thanks to his chairmanship of a great number of ministerial committees, Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares actively contributed to the elaboration of proposals of key importance to settle many pending issues, on the basis of securing consensus and serving Lebanon’s high interests.

Within one year only, the number of the ministerial committees reached twenty. Most of the committees have completed their recommendations while the others resumed their deliberations and studies. These dynamic committees resembled an exemplary ministerial mini-Cabinet that enjoys great performance.

2-The Diplomatic Reunions
In addition to the foreign trips he undertook during which he signed, on behalf of the Lebanese State, a significant number of agreements, Fares’ diplomatic moves represented a remarkable phenomenon.

- The Deputy Premier& his wife Mrs. Hala Fares have been hosted by US President Georges H.W. Bush& the First US Lady Mrs. Barbara Bush in August

- He received a great number of official invitations from heads of states in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

- During this year also, he was awarded by four international centers:
  • Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts& its Board of Trustees bestowed upon him the Honorary Doctorate in recognition of the frantic efforts he exerts in the service of educational and cultural institutions, humanitarian issues, and international relations in Lebanon and other countries, the United States in particular, and in appreciation of his capacity as a distinguished figure, an influential leader, and a remarkable economy man.
  • The World Fifth Conference for the Orthodox Community in Los Angeles during which he was awarded the Order of the Orthodox Parish
  • The Maronite Foundation in Los Angeles where he was awarded a Golden Decoration that was only decorated to Their Beatitudes the Patriarch of Antioch& All the East and Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir.
  • The UNESCO organization which decorated him in Paris with the Acropole Award
It is worth noting also that Issam Fares received the ‘International Orthodox Unity Fund’ prize during a great celebration held at the Savior Cathedral in the Russian Capital. Apart from Fares, the prize has been awarded to five international personalities selected for their great contribution in reinforcing the spiritual and cultural unity among peoples: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Serbian Patriarch Pavel, the head of the Armenian National Assembly Armen Khatcharian, and the European-Orthodox Parliamentary Association. The prize was handed by H.B. the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II. During the ceremony, Fares was introduced as a man whose contributions on both the local and international levels, as well as his relentless efforts, have helped raise the hope in world peace.

On the local level, the Maronite Central Council in Lebanon decided to honor Fares in November on the eve of the Independence Day.

It is noticeable how Fares managed to draw the attention of a great number of accredited ambassadors and chargé d’affaires, holding long diplomatic days for the discussion of heated issues of great concern for Lebanon& the Middle East. He endeavored to reflect Lebanon’s real image. To him, Lebanon goes beyond its geographic boundaries and its population. Lebanon rather represents a role and a message, Fares remarks.

On the political level also, he affirmed Lebanon’s firm commitment to a just and comprehensive peace as the practical means to eradicate terrorism.

On the economic level, he emphasized the activation of economic cooperation between Lebanon& world countries, the attraction of foreign investments to Lebanon, and mobilizing all possibilities in both the public and private sectors to provide the best opportunities that could ever contribute to Lebanon’s recovery and revitalization on both the economic and international levels.

Fares urged the European Union countries, sister nations, and scores of international organizations to offer economic aid to Lebanon, mainly by securing funds or short-term and long-term projects, and by introducing administrative reforms.

3- Reunions & Stances
Fares’ office resembled a ‘beehive’ and was marked by permanent activities and non-stop meetings. During all his reunions, Fares embodied the model of entente in Akkar and real consensus in all Lebanon. He conferred with all the Lebanese political personalities with no exception, met different religious dignitaries, and considered that Lebanon’s religious sanctuaries are Lebanese ‘lighthouses’.

Furthermore, Fares met with great openness representatives of all Lebanese parties and called upon all to unify their ranks around the Lebanese State. He hosted current and former deputies and ministers, and a number of spiritual and national figures, as well as the heads of different municipalities from various regions and sectors. Discussions revolved around the developments in the North and the revitalization of the deprived areas of Akkar.

Besides focusing his attention on the interior political affairs, Fares exerted efforts to secure internal development and promote foreign investment in Lebanon. Not to mention also that his meetings with the Arab League Secretary-General, the ESCWA Executive Director, and the personal representative of the United Nations Secretary-General also helped enhance Lebanon’s image. Throughout this year, Fares set three bases for his political career:

1) Issam Fares is for ALL LEBANON, honest in his friendships and committed to great values and high interests. His performance is characterized by translating his words into deeds and by rejecting favoritism and bias. He highly believes in objectivity, impartiality, and democracy, hence the importance of the role he plays. He is the man of permanent action.

2) Issam Fares is a MAN of STATE. To him, responsibility lies in decision-sharing. It is a service for the entire nation. He
is a real man of state who accepts divergence of opinions, objectively expresses his point of view, and shows firm commitment to the Cabinet resolutions. He considers that responsibility requires that the official owns ‘a vision’ as well as the capacity to realize achievements. He dreams of alleviating the burden of the North in general, Akkar in particular, and making of it a Lebanese pearl on the touristic, agricultural, educational, and social levels.

3) He believes that Lebanon’s recovery is based on two parallel lines:
  • Building the nation on the internal level by promoting the Lebanese constants, unifying and solidifying Lebanon’s ranks, raising Lebanon’s interests above any other interest, preserving Lebanon as a top priority, establishing the state of law and institutions, and opting for nationalism, not sectarianism
  • Activating Lebanon’s relations with both the Arab world and the international community. Fares insists on establishing a unified Arab strategy to face the challenges, based on three key pillars: Diplomacy, military power, and money.

    He outlined the importance of global peace, deeming that partial peace is doomed to failure. He considered that the key to the realization of peace lies in the recognition of the United Nations resolutions and their implementation.

    This stance emanates from his strong belief that Lebanon’s fate constitutes an integral part of the region’s fate, and that peace can only endure if it takes into consideration justice and the human rights.

    In addition, Fares remarks a ‘slow down’ in the administrative reforming process, calls for modernization to meet Lebanon’s demands, secure integration between the public and private sectors, and to keep abreast with the regional and international challenges.

What Does Issam Fares Dream of?
Issam Fares wants Lebanon to enjoy internal immunity to face any foreign plot, to achieve economic and social recovery, to meet the competitive capacities, to introduce administrative reforms, to update laws and enact legislations that meet the requirements of the Lebanese life, to put in place a new tax policy, to stimulate foreign investments, to promote the Lebanese people’s confidence in their state and the world’s trust in Lebanon, and to take care of the Lebanese youth who represents the nation’s future.

Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares represents the voice that says, ‘What is more painful than the setback is to delay the recovery of a nation that is capable of recovering’.