The Importance of Affirming Reconciliation in Lebanon

  • 25 September 2008

Lebanon seems at this juncture in its history to be ready for closing the page on the disagreements, conflicts, and division that have characterized the recent period and threatened the country's peace and stability. It also seems ready to begin a new phase that depends primarily on affirming factional reconciliation in such a manner that would benefit the whole country and its different political groups and would abort all attempts to sow discord and chaos.

Recently, there were many developments that worked to assert the principle of reconciliation: from the signing of the Tripoli "reconciliation document" that ended Sunni-Alawi clashes in the north's largest city, to the meeting between Hizbullah and Walid Junblatt's Progressive Socialist Party that would help national dialogue, to the preparations leading to a meeting between the Hizbullah chief and the Future Movement's al-Hariri. These steps give great momentum to the national dialogue launched on the 16th of September by the Lebanese president and aimed at achieving a comprehensive reconciliation following the meetings to thaw the ice between Lebanese factions.

A comprehensive national reconciliation in Lebanon should be the main objective of all political forces because it constitutes a defining moment in a country that has suffered not only politically and in matters of security, but also economically where it lost billions. Achieving reconciliation is impossible without a commitment by all sides to participate in fruitful dialogue. Lebanon's national interest is at stake and must be defended against all domestic and external dangers and its security and stability should be protected from selfish ambitions. Reaching common ground in dealing with contentious issues is a major contribution to ensuring reconciliation and helping the country and its people avoid the calamities of failure.

National reconciliation will put Lebanon on the road to desperately needed development and stability, especially in light of the great challenges facing the Middle Easy and the world. It also preserves many gains, such as the "Doha Agreement," and builds upon them for the future. Conditions appear to be opportune for this reconciliation, specifically since all factions have accepted the president's call for dialogue and prepared to make it successful. These are strong indications that there is a will to restore calm and stability to Lebanon and to deal with the doubts that still govern relations between its people.