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Part 3
The third part of a series of books entitled ‘Issam Fares, the Deputy Former Prime Minister of Lebanon’ has been issued. The 431-page book includes a series of stances adopted by and activities undertaken by Mr. Issam Fares in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon from November 1, 2002 till November 4, 2003.

The book includes an introduction and the five following chapters: The Stances; The Ministerial Committees; The Political, Social, &Developmental Meetings; the Foreign Trips; the Diplomatic Meetings; and the Deputy Prime Minister and Lebanon’s Official Visitors.

During this year, Fares was considered the ‘guardian’ of public funds and a combatant against trespasses. His remarks and opinions were taken into account, and he was assigned with the task of settling down intricate problems and conflicts to the point that it was said ‘Fares gave the post of Deputy Prime Minister a distinguished role’.

Fares relentlessly paved the way to promote the citizens’ confidence in the Lebanese State to defuse tension and to settle down disputes. The consultancy bureau he established on his own expenses was tantamount to a center of studies for all the issues debated by the Council of Ministers and the House of Parliament. The said Center supported the studies that enable decision-makers to take the appropriate decisions and implement them.

Fares called for the instigation of dialogue and for the introduction of constitutional reforms to activate the role of institutions, the implementation of the Constitution, and the observation of rules and regulations. He convened for open economic and administrative sessions that deal with the problems of deficit, economic recession, emigration, and unemployment, and appealed for the creation of an agenda to modernize the state institutions and activate integration between the public and private sectors. His political and national image highlighted three key lines:
  • Focus on the national constants: Unifying the Lebanese rank, securing the rights of citizens in education, health care, balanced development, and in a new electoral law that guarantees a sound representation adopting administrative decentralization, safeguarding general fundamental freedoms, promoting the independence of judicial authorities, and struggling against sectarianism
  • Focus on promoting Lebanon’s stature and its presence on the international scene: On the basis of the particular attention he devoted to Lebanon and in view of the critical volatile developments reported on the regional scene, Fares cautioned against the Middle East crisis, the Palestinian refugees problem, the Palestinian settlement, the Arab dismantlement, the civilizations’ conflict, and terrorism.
  • Focus on devoting attention to the Lebanese people, whether directly or indirectly through the Issam Fares developmental, cultural, and humanitarian Foundation, the aim of which is to alleviate the burden and relieve the pain of the people.
Throughout this year, more than 19 ministerial committees chaired by Fares have accomplished their tasks, and the Council of Ministers had adopted their recommendations, taking the appropriate decisions in their regard. It is known that most of these committees had dealt with intricate and complicated issues, the solution of which had required from Fares the consulting of experts. It was obvious that the task of Fares’ ministerial committees was based on making researches, conducting deep studies, consulting experts, following up the meetings in order to make the necessary deliberations and conclusions, and elaborating the recommendations to present them to the Council of Ministers. Fares’ activity on this level was so fruitful and productive that with him, the ministerial committees lost the concept of being ‘the cemetery of commissions’ to win a new concept and become synonymous of ‘a factory for solutions’.

Also on the local level, the Deputy Premier assumed a distinguished role in activating the performance of public work, paying visits to all local leaders, following up contacts with religious dignitaries from all sects, hosting high-level officials of different institutions and administrations, holding reunions with the heads of parties, associations, and syndicates, welcoming Lebanese businessmen and investors. On the same level, Fares followed up his contacts with the Presidents of universities, educational institutions, as well as with Lebanese and Arab intellectual centers.

On the international level, Fares met scores of high-level world personalities and paved the way for facilitating the contact and dialogue between the Lebanese officials and international renowned figures in order to consolidate bounds between Lebanon and the international community, mainly the United States, Russia, and France. In this regard, the Council of Ministers assigned Fares with the task of chairing the Lebanese side and represent Lebanon in the common Belarusian-Lebanese Committee for Commercial and Economic Cooperation. On behalf of Lebanon, he also took part in the official negotiations held with world leaders who paid official visits to Lebanon such as the President of the Republic of Yemen Mr. Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Mohammad Khatami of Iran.

Not to mention also that the Deputy Premier also followed up his contacts with the Ambassadors of the foreign countries accredited in Lebanon, among whom we cite for instance the United States of America, France, Russia, Canada, Australia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Italy, Chili, Switzerland, Holland, Uruguay, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Armenia, Korea, and Bulgaria.

On another development, Fares undertook official visits to Bulgaria and Ukraine and took part with the Lebanese President and Prime Minister in the Arab Summit held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. He also paid working visits to the United States where he delivered a lecture with senior US President George Bush at Tufts University, and held contacts in France and other European states.

On the Arab and regional levels, Fares hosted Qatar’s Energy Minister and a great number of officials who paid visit to Lebanon. On his heavy schedule were also reunions held with the Ambassadors of Egypt, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Pakistan, as well as the Secretary-General of the Lebanese-Syrian High Council.

Furthermore, Fares met high-level world officials among whom the UN Secretary General and officials in international institutions such as the UNESCO and the ESCWA, and resumed his meetings with the International Monetary Fund.

Thanks to the pivotal key role Fares played on the international level, he was decorated this year with the Order Stara Planina 1rst Class from Bulgaria, the Honorary Golden Medal from the Ministry of Youth& Sports of the Republic of Bulgaria later this year, and the Prince Yorslav The Wise 2nd Rank from the President of Ukraine Mr. Leonid Kuchma.
The Fares Foundation Activities

Among the Fares Foundation’s main activities are the social impact and the revitalization of the production vitality in both the State and society. Fares persistently followed up every file until he found the appropriate solutions. In addition to his bureau in North Lebanon, and on the basis of his firm commitment to the institutional work, he established the Fares Foundation which is chaired by a Board of Trustees. Since its inception, the Fares Foundation strives for the achievement of two key goals:
  • Encouraging the local initiative and providing opportunities to all citizens
  • Devoting the principle of cooperation and social solidarity to achieve progress

It is to remark that the said Foundation cooperates with non-governmental institutions and with parties highly interested in developmental and social activities. Among the Foundation’s main activities, we cite for instance granting scholarships to excelled students and students in need, supporting universities through the establishment of laboratories, and the development of its infrastructure, and supporting primary and complementary schools, mainly in the poor rural areas. The Fares Foundation also supports the hospitals, dispensaries, and health centers in all areas, away from any narrow confessional or sectarian consideration, as well as medical and scientific forums and conferences.

Throughout this year, the Foundation embraced a great number of scout activities and sponsored culture and education. For example, it projected a drama film in Tripoli, organized an exhibition to expose thousands of musical instruments which remote from 3000 years Before Christ till the 17th Century at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut, renovated the Bazerkan Souk in Tripoli to boost trade and promote tourism, created centers and seminars for computer learning and vocational training in Akkar, held under its auspices the project of the handicapped rehabilitation in Akkar on the health, educational, and professional levels.

Also among Fares’ preoccupations and activities is the attention devoted to the rural sector by assisting farmers, offering them guidance and technique and encouraging agricultural industrialization.

It is worth mentioning that Fares personally sponsored a series of developmental projects in a number of areas and regions, mainly with the municipalities and local associations. This year, he inaugurated a number of municipal palaces in al-Juma, Qobayat, Tel Abbas, Talbire, in addition to many health and social centers. Moreover, he launched a landmark and vital project, which is the economic, social, and demographic survey of al-Juma region.

In conclusion, it is to remark that throughout this year, whether on the political or on the developmental level, Fares insistently strived to realize a nation he dreams of, the nation of democracy, justice, democracy, and equal opportunities, saving no effort to attain these noble goals.