Saad Rafiq Hariri: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon offers us a chance for recovery

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The Independent Online

With all the turbulence that Lebanon endured, I am hopeful that the worst is behind us. My optimism stems from the resilience of the Lebanese, their ability to withstand very difficult conditions, and their stubborn attachment to their independence.

As we emerge from this dark period, we are rewarded by the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague. The tribunal will put on trial those responsible for the terrorist crime of the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri, Minister Basil Fuleihan and those who lost their lives on 14 February 2005.

This is an achievement of supreme significance for international justice and for Lebanon. Some argue that those targeted by the tribunal might attempt to destabilise Lebanon. We strongly disagree. We believe that democracy will be reinforced and freedom protected by the tribunal. The tribunal will pave the way to end political assassinations not only in Lebanon, but throughout the region so that murderers are brought to justice which will serve as a lesson for all.

Our hope is that justice will prevail, no matter how long it takes. Ever since the Syrian withdrawal, Lebanon continued to cement its sovereignty, protect its independence and advance its prosperity. The UN Security Council has issued important resolutions protecting Lebanon, most importantly resolution 1701 to which we remain fully committed. As a result troops are now positioned along our borders in southern Lebanon, and for the first time in 30 years, the Lebanese army deployed in the south. In addition, the donor community pledged $7.6bn in financial support during a conference in Paris. And Lebanon entered into a formal arrangement with the International Monetary Fund. On 7 June, parliamentary elections will be conducted in Lebanon.

Preserving these achievements hinges to a great extent on the outcome of the upcoming elections. They will set the future course of our country – to preserve the Lebanon we believe in; a Lebanon that is tolerant, modern, moderate and resolves its differences peacefully; that opens its doors to diversity but is shielded from tensions in the region; a prosperous Lebanon that capitalises on its unique attributes.

Saad Rafiq Hariri, leader of the Future Movement Party, Lebanon, was at Chatham House on Wednesday