He participated in Sunday Mass in Saint Charbel ... and was honored by Bishop Antoine Charbel Tarbay
"We will not allow the replacement of the Diaspora, neither by the displaced people nor the refugees"
You may elect whoever you want, but let your participation be massive and you choice be the best for Lebanon"- Gebran Bassil
11 Mar 2018
(Translation appears in Arabic section)
Sydney - M. E. Times Int'l: - Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Gibran Bassil met Sunday with a number of Lebanese expatriates in the Great Hall of St. Charbel's Monastery in Sydney, calling on them to participate heavily in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Bassil in his speech extends greetings to all Lebanese in Australia and stressing
that endorsing the Lebanese expatriates' right to vote from abroad was an accomplishment for everyone.
"He added, I am happy to be in Sydney, which achieved the highest number of registered voters for the election, exceeding 9,000 Lebanese voters," Bassil indicated.
The minister also called on those who missed the chance to register their names "to visit Lebanon for the elections on May 6."
"These elections are for the rejection of resettlement and the establishment of identity, and a battle to approve large-scale projects of electricity, oil, dams, roads, railways and developing the economy...," Bassil stressed.
"You know that a lot of wealth has been wasted, including water, oil, nature and the people. They turned them into provinces and tried to put a hand on you in order to throw away Lebanese peoples wealth. But we confirm that we will not allow them to replace you neither by displaced people nor by refugees."
"For 16 months, the events and their course in Lebanon have changed with the election of General Aoun as a strong president of the republic. We achieved in a year what we were unable to accomplish for decades," he said.
"We took the necessary decision and liberated our land. We started with oil and made decisions that allow our government and parliament to be made in Lebanon. All this allowed us to restore the missing balance through our practice of partnership which, when lost, our country has been overtaken by the dysfunction.
You will write a new page on April 29, a bright page from the history of Lebanon when you elect from Australia the deputies in Lebanon, and thus you participate in the Lebanese decision. Those who did not register should go to Lebanon for election on May 6, and this is your duty and responsibility to participate in the decision-making and the future of Lebanon, as residents. "
He deemed that the upcoming elections "denote the dividing line between the state of reconciliation under the Constitution and the state of settlements at the expense of the law."
More than 100 children welcomed Bassil at the ceremony
"These elections are for the rejection of resettlement and the identity confirmation. It is also a battle to approve large projects such electricity, oil, dams, roads, railways and for the economic development, job creation, closing the door of immigration and opening doors to return to Lebanon with every window of hope opened to them," He added.
"I invite you to participate in the elections on three bases: First, to partake intensively in order to claim your rights...and to choose the best for you and for Lebanon. Second, you must pass your experience of the Australian elections to Lebanon based on work and reliable programs...and not on sectarian, doctrinal or regional instincts. Third, to vote freely because you are outside any influence," Bassil said to expatriates.
"Building the state needs every voice, and this is done by deeds, not by slogans, and building Lebanon needs the resident and the diaspora to build the future of Lebanon," he said.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs concluded: "We have found the extraordinary solution to the problem of the Passport for you, and it became a voting document at a cost of 1000 LP only, in order to avoid any reason for your non-participation and the restoration of your rights. As you built here in Australia you have to contribute to building your country. We have abolished the word expatriates in the foreign ministry. You are Christians and Muslims from all regions spread throughout the world and bear the name of Lebanon in the world."
Mass in St. Charbel
Minister Bassil participated in the Sunday Mass at the monastery of Saint Charbel where the Patron of the Maronite Diocese, Antoine Charbel Tarabay presided over the Eucharist, assisted by the President of St. Charbel Monastery, Fr. Louis Ferkh and Fr. Antoine Tohme, In the presence of Pierre Raffoul, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Charbel Makroun Consul General in Sydney, Salim Sfeir Chairman of the Board of Directors of Beirut Bank and community figures.
After a sermon inspired by the time of fasting, Tarabay welcomes Bassil and Raffoul in Australia, noting the convening of Lebanese Diaspora Energy Conference and its recommendations.
Father Ferkh gave a speech at the end of the mass in which he said: "We appreciate your progress in introducing a new dynamic based on clear plans and objectives, which complement the message and role of the Church and its institutions”. He suggested that a symposium be organized at the next energy conference in Lebanon on the role of the Church in preserving Identity and heritage in the Diaspora ".
After the Mass, Bassil met the receiving delegations at the monastery salon and wrote a word in the Golden Register.
In the morning, Bishop Tarabay held a banquet in honor of bassil in the Maroun House of the Maronite Diocese, in the presence of Raffoul, Raad, Sfeir and members of the Lebanese community.