NNA – Greek Ambassador to Lebanon, Catherine Fountoulak, held a reception at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut, marking her Country’s National Day.
The reception was attended by Vice Speaker Elias Bou Saab representing House Speaker Nabih Berri, Caretaker Tourism Minister Walid Nassar representing Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Director of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Abir Ali representing Caretaker Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Abdallah Bou Habib, as well as scores of political, diplomatic, military, media, cultural and social dignitaries.
Ambassador Fountoulak delivered the following speech on the occasion:
“Your Excellency Mr. Elias Bou Saab, Vice President of the National Assembly representing H.E. The Speaker Mr. Nabih Berry
Your Excellency Mr. Walid Nassar, Minister of Tourism representing H.E. the President of the Council of Ministers Mr. Najib Mikati
Mrs. Abir Ali, Director of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, representing H.E. Minister Abdallah Bou Habib,
Your Eminencies and honorable religious dignitaries
Your Excellencies the Ministers, Members of the Parliament
Honorable representatives of the armed and security forces and the UNIFIL
Dear Colleagues of the diplomatic corps
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On my own behalf and on behalf of my colleagues at the Embassy, I would like to welcome you and thank you all for your presence here today, to celebrate with us the National Day of Greece.
Amid adverse circumstances due to the pandemic two years ago, Greece celebrated 200 years since the beginning of our struggle for independence, which gave birth to the modern Greek state. This bicentennial symbolizes what we have achieved within these two centuries and guides our reflection, individually and collectively, to build a vision for the future.
The journey of the Greek state during these two centuries is remarkable. A nation that fought for its right to be an independent state and that never since shied away from the international struggles to defend and uphold freedom and human values, including in both World Wars. A state that has become a sturdy pillar of democracy, and stability in the Balkans and the wider Mediterranean region. A dependable Ally and a dedicated member of the European Union for the past 40 years, actively contributing to the promotion of its fundamental values and priorities.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we all know, National Days are a reason for celebration but they are also a reminder of shared values and beliefs, at a time when these are once again being tested, and of the tasks we still face.
It is in this spirit that we strongly support the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Lebanon, to which Greece is linked by excellent relations since ancient times. In the same vein, we contribute to the mission of UNIFIL by participating with a frigate to the Maritime component ever since its establishment in 2006. We expressed our solidarity with the Lebanese people after the port of Beirut explosion by dispatching the very next day a Search and Rescue team and delivering three times urgent humanitarian assistance, including for the needs of the Lebanese Armed Forces.
Greece was among the first countries to publicly welcome the historic Maritime Delimitation Agreement between Lebanon and Israel as an example of peaceful settlement of differences in this region and as a key factor in stabilizing the situation in the Middle East.
As regards Greece’s presence in Lebanon, we are particularly satisfied with the revival of the program to strengthen Greek language skills and support theological studies as St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology at the University of Balamand, which will contribute to further enhancing the ties between Greece and Lebanon at the educational, theological, social and cultural levels.
We will continue to show solidarity with the Lebanese people in difficult times. We believe that fully functioning state institutions, first and foremost election of a new President and formation of a stable Government and respect for rule of law are sine qua non conditions for addressing the many and urgent problems the country is facing as well as for the implementation of much needed reforms that will favour the development of the country in a sustainable manner, leaving no one behind. We hope that this will become a reality thanks to the remarkable resilience, talents and sense of solidarity of the Lebanese.
I take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the Greek Community of Beirut for their valuable contribution in the organization of this event as well as to the staff of the Embassy for their dedication and hard work often under difficult circumstances.”