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Lifetime Achievement Award in Washington - March 31, 2004
"The international attention devoted to reforming in the Middle East region should not be on the detriment of securing a just, global, and stable peace in the region. The peace issue in the Middle East requires the conduction of a preventive diplomatic campaign, knowing that Middle East peace is in the core of the US interest. Based on the degradation prevailing in the region, this campaign has become very pressing and urgent".

H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Issam Fares expressed this belief in the keynote he delivered before 700 attendees in the US capital Washington, among whom was present his wife Mrs. Hala Fares. The speech was delivered on the occasion of the ceremony held by the American Task Force for Lebanon to decorate Fares with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in recognition of his significant political achievements and his great contributions in his capacity as a successful and dynamic renown businessman whose institutions and companies prosper in Lebanon, the Middle East, America, and Europe. Fares turned the annual occasion into a ceremony to welcome the Lebanese diaspora in the United States and the entire world.

The ceremony was mainly attended by Lebanon’s Ambassador to the US Mr. Farid Abboud and scores of Arab Ambassadors, and personalities of Lebanese origin such as the presidential candidate Ralph Nader, and leaders of Arab and Islamic organizations, as well as prominent American officials such as The Secretary of Health Mr. Tommy G. Thompson, Democrat Senator Robert Graham, and eight members of the US Congress. The Master of the ceremony was Republican Senator Mr. John. Sununu of New Hampshire.

Fares: There is no doubt that our democratic system takes its roots from peace and stability

"The Lifetime Achievement Award" offered to Fares in recognition of his significant political achievements

During the event, Fares emphasized the importance of Lebanon as an example that should be followed by other countries especially that ‘Lebanon is a pluralist society and enjoys a parliamentary constitutional regime, effective civil organizations, and a free economic market’. ‘There is no doubt that our democratic system, like any other democratic system, takes its roots from peace and stability’, he declared.

In a reference to the controversy caused by the reforming proposals and their link to the realization of peace, Fares considered that a just peace in the region shall improve America’s image, consolidate its alliances, give Lebanon the impetus it needs to develop its energies, and promote the reform movements.

Pointing out that any successful movement towards democracy depends upon meeting the particular conditions of each state, Fares warned that some reforms that a country could undertake before the realization of a just and global peace in the region might swell the ranks of fanatics. He noted that it is desirable that the United States supports the Middle Eastern countries in the reforms they should carry out, in close cooperation with these countries. Moreover, Fares proudly talked about the Lebanese diaspora in the world and the Lebanese people’s contributions to the societies to which they have emigrated.

Fares also conveyed his thanks to Metropolitan Philip Saliba ‘for his wise leadership of our Orthodox church in North America and his unlimited support for Lebanon’s issues in particular, and the Arab world in general’.

For his part, Metropolitan Saliba had introduced Mr. Fares in a speech which praised his nationalism and patriotism, portraying him as a ‘PEACEMAKER’, deeming that his principled positions and services offered to his country have truly made of him ‘LEBANON’S CONSCIENCE’.

"H.E. Mr. Issam & Mrs. Hala Fares Attend the Banquet Thrown in their Honor by the AFTL"

On a different development, it is worth noting that the schedule of H.E. Mr. Fares in Washington was full of a series of
reunions, meetings, and contacts held with a number of political figures, among who figure Syria’s Ambassador to the US Mr. Imad Mustapha and Mr. Edward Djerejian, former US Ambassador to Damascus. Both meetings provided a chance to broach the latest developments reported in the Middle East.

Also on Fares’ schedule was a lunch banquet thrown in his honor by Lebanon’s Ambassador to the US Mr. Farid Abboud, attended by a crowd of famous Lebanese and American personalities and media figures. The banquet represented an occasion for the attendees to discuss the situation in Lebanon and the region and the expectations of the next stage.