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Official Visit to Poland - July 5-6, 2004
The Sash of Merit, the Highest Polish Decoration, Awarded to Fares
An Extensive Round of Talks
Press Conference
Reception Held by the Prime Minister
Second Day’s Visit
Meeting with the Senate Speaker
Gathering with the Lebanese Diaspora
The Arab Ambassadors
The Official Dinner Banquet
Attention Devoted to the Visit
Highest Polish Decoration to Fares

The Sash of Merit, the Highest Polish Decoration, Awarded to FaresThe presidential visit to Poland in which Deputy Foreign Minister Issam Fares took part, described by Polish President Alexander Kwaśniewski as the ‘historic event, contributed in the rapprochement of points of view in international policy, mainly by underscoring the importance of realizing peace in dialogue and negotiations.

The visit paved the way for bilateral cooperation, mainly in the areas of economy, trade, and security, which has been translated into action by the conclusion of a number of agreements. The Polish authorities had expressed their admiration in Lebanon as a gate to the Middle East.

Mr. Fares was representative of the Lebanese delegation chaired by H.E. President of the Republic Mr. Emile Lahoud. Among the delegation’s members figured Minister of State Mr. Abdel Rahim Mrad, Defense Minister Mahmoud Hammoud, Major General Staff Edward Manour the Director General of State Security, Lebanon’s Ambassador to Poland Massoud el-Maalouf, the President of the Press Association Mr. Mohammed Baalbaki, and the head of the Lebanese Editors Syndicate Mr. Melhem Karam.

Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares upon his Arrival to Poland on an Official Visit

H.E. Mr. Fares Receives a Warm Welcome from Poland President Alexander Kwasniewski

An Extensive Round of TalksAfter a warm reception at Poland’s Presidential Palace, an extensive round of talks was held at the Conference Room, under the chairmanship of the Polish and Lebanese Presidents, attended by Fares, along with Ministers Mrad and Mahmoud, Ambassador el-Maalouf, and the Presidential Spokesman Mr. Rafik Shlala.

H.E. Mr. Fares evoked Lebanon’s commercial and economic vital role, focusing on the Lebanese presence in the world and the assumption, by the Lebanese ekmigrants, of key roles in their host countries. He pointed out that the Lebanese were pioneers in the arenas of trade and economy, underlining their ability to contribute in the development of the economy of their host countries. Polish President Alexander Kwaśniewski agreed with Fares, praising the importance of the Lebanese diaspora.

Then, a dialogue was opened about the importance of Lebanon’s participation in the World Economic Forum scheduled for next September. Both Lebanese and Polish Presidents agreed that the members of both delegations hold two-day meetings in Poland to agree upon the joint action to undertake at the current stage in order to pave the way for the conclusion of the agreements signed by Poland President during his visit to Lebanon.

Press ConferenceLater, both Presidents held a joint press conference at the Press Room in the presidential Palace, after which Fares and both delegations headed to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where they received a warm welcome by Warsaw military commander General Jiralski and a number of Polish officials.

Reception Held by the Prime Minister After a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, President Lahoud and Mr. Fares moved later to Hyatt Regency Hotel where they were hosted by Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka, in presence of the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Vladimir Trotsky. The meeting revolved around bilateral ties and their means of development. The Polish Prime Minister exposed his country’s stance vis-à-vis the Middle East, Iraq, and Palestine. For his part, President Lahoud explained Lebanon’s status towards all these developments, re-emphasizing the importance to implement the resolutions of international legitimacy and the necessity for the UN to take control of the situation in Iraq.

Talks also touched upon the relations between the Arab States and the European Union and Latin American countries, and Lahoud’s role in the preparation of the Arab-American Summit scheduled in the beginning of next year, upon the initiative of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Second Day’s VisitThe second day of Fares’ visit to Poland was marked by a meeting held with the accredited Arab Ambassadors in Warsaw, attended by Fares and the accompanying delegation. Talks focused on the Lebanese experience in unifying the ranks of the Lebanese Army on national basis.

Meeting with the Senate SpeakerThe meeting held with the Polish Senate Speaker Longim Pastusiak revolved around the Lebanese-Polish relations and the necessity to enhance them. Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares exposed the outcome of the ministerial committee he chaired on emigration. He expressed readiness to provide the Polish Senate Speaker with a copy of this report and to take advantage of the Lebanese experience in this arena. On the Polish side, Speaker Longim Pastusiak enumerated the common points between Lebanon and Poland, among which he cited as an example the number of the Lebanese diaspora.

The Lebanese delegation remarked that the Lebanese diaspora represents a real wealth for Lebanon and pointed out that the Lebanese State will take decisive measures to strengthen the ties with the Lebanese emigrants. It also shed light on the ministerial committee chaired by Fares to this end in order to achieve the aspired results.

Gathering with the Lebanese DiasporaIn the evening, Fares and the accompanying delegation attended the reception hosted by Lebanon’s Ambassador in Warsaw at Hyatt Regency Hotel. Fares exposed the outcome of the study conducted by the ministerial committee he chairs on emigration, noting that the situation of the Lebanese community was raised to lay down adequate basis that are compatible with the situation of each community, in line with the rules and regulations of their host countries.

Fares also stressed the importance of the Lebanese community in the entire world and the pivotal role they play on the commercial and economic levels, stressing the Lebanese State’s willingness to pursue its efforts to open channels of communication with the Lebanese emigrants, especially that the Lebanese President’s visit to Brazil has demonstrated the Lebanese emigrants’ eagerness to enhance and promote these ties.

The Arab AmbassadorsFares had also attended the gathering made by the Lebanese President at his residence at Hyatt Regency Hotel with the Arab Ambassadors accredited in Poland, in presence of the Lebanese delegation members. The gathering was attended by Their Excellencies The Ambassadors of Tunisia, Palestine, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Egypt, and Morocco, as well as Libya's chargé d'affaires Joseph Zorgani and the Iraqi chargé d'affaires Mohammad Nouri al-Muthana.

The Official Dinner Banquet Polish President Alexander Kwaśniewski and his wife had thrown a dinner banquet in honor of the Lebanese President and delegation, attended by the staff of the Polish State, mainly the Polish Parliament Speaker Joseph Oleksii and a great number of ministers, deputies, senators, and high civil and military officials.

Attention Devoted to the VisitFares had also attended the big reception hosted by Lebanon’s Ambassador to Poland Massoud el-Maalouf at Hyatt Regency Hotel in honor of the Lebanese President and delegation, attended by more than 500 people from the staff of the Polish State, ministers, deputies, judges, as well as Arab and foreign accredited Ambassadors, and nearly 300 persons from the Lebanese community who came from different Polish areas.

The meeting provided a chance to praise the Lebanese community’s contribution in the revitalization of the Polish economy. This community also expressed its delight about the visit it considered as ‘historic’, calling for the promotion of ties between the Lebanese emigrants and their motherland, and underlining Poland’s great appreciation of Lebanon’s stances.

Highest Polish Decoration to Fares On the heels of this remarkable visit and in Beirut, H.E. Mr. Fares was awarded the Sash of Merit, which is the highest decoration ever awarded to a foreigner. On behalf of Polish President Alexander Kwaśniewski, the decoration was presented by Poland Ambassador in Beirut Mr. Aldamar Markowitz who highly applauded the qualities and virtues of Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares and the efforts he exerts to strengthen friendship ties and bolster cooperation between the States and peoples of Poland and Lebanon, praising the positive impact of the presidential visit paid lately to Warsaw.

In turn, Fares expressed his gratitude to Poland Ambassador, asking him to convey his warm thanks to the Polish President, and affirming his permanent readiness to exert all efforts for the promotion of bilateral ties between Lebanon and Poland in all arenas.