Editor-In-Chief: Charbel Baini

PRESS RELEASE from The World Lebanese Cultural Union

The World Lebanese Cultural Union NGO in association with the DPI of the UN wishes to advise that it does not in any way accept the comments gratuitously provided in a press conference recently conducted between the press and Minister Adnan Mansour as Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lebanon.

In the exchange with the Press Corps conducted in Canberra on 16 April 2012 the Minister in response to a question from the editor of the El Telegraph concerning the problems with the “…two WLCUs” and whether he was attending to remedying the existence of the alleged “problems” responded with words to the effect: “What two WLCUs? To us, there is only one WLCU in the world, and that is the one that our government recognises. We do not recognise anyone else…”

Such a statement is both utterly misconceived and indicative of the deft manner in which the current government of the Republic of Lebanon fails to understand and administer its relations with organisations that exist within the world and are and have been for some time legally and validly registered to so exist independently of any affiliation or association from within the Republic of Lebanon for their existence.

Effectively, the statement by the Minister is both rejected and refuted categorically, and without in any way acknowledging his right to make the statement, but more importantly that it is both incorrect and fails as an indication as to what is the status of the WLCU. It is a UN NGO and not subordinate to any national government.

The WLCU has been in existence since 1959 since its creation in Mexico, is the sole body that can claim to globally be representative of the world Lebanese Diaspora. That it is so indicative of its status is effectively appreciated when one realises it is an NGO affiliated with the DPI (Department of Public Information) with the United Nations in New York City. It also is a member of ECSOC which is an agency within UNESCO.

There is no other body representative of the Diaspora for the Lebanese equal to or having the status of the WLCU as it bears its affiliation with the United Nations.

The Minister is effectively speaking out of order, and sadly does not appreciate or have any understanding of the status of the WLCU and, regrettably, is ignorant of it as a body with the international recognition that it has achieved.

It is more to the point indicative of the manner in which the current Lebanese government, in terms of its inability to be effectively democratic and representative of the true will of the Lebanese people within Lebanon, insofar as it is beholden to forces that dictate its direction, albeit at the threat of intimidation that this Minister is effectively speaking from as a platform and not otherwise.

In short, the Minister seeks to enter into and embroil his government in a debate that it has no standing to argue on. The WLCU categorically rejects out of hand any criticism of its status, and more particularly within the Geographical Regional Council (GRC) in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, such an attack on the status of the WLCU is rejected and dismissed as nothing more than an ignorant and ill-informed assessment by a government minister who knows no better and, in the circumstances, detracts from the status of both his government and the purpose of his visit to Australia to promote relations between Lebanon and Australia on the inaugural visit of His Excellency President Sleiman as the first Head of State for Lebanon to visit our country.

Equally, and to be not understated, are the comments of His Excellency the President that he hopes to have resolved the “problems” between the two organisations. For the record, there are no problems insofar as the WLCU as an NGO exists and will not be subordinated to or in any way affected by any comment from a government that has no right or authority to dictate the existence of a body lawfully organised and legitimately recognised by the United Nations to act as a transnational representative of the Lebanese Diaspora.

The Lebanese government would be well warned to leave well alone the WLCU lest it embroils itself in an argument that it not only will not win, but will further add embarrassment to it as a national government that is both ill-equipped and utterly ill-fit to be representative of the democratic will of the Lebanese people. It is regrettable to have to make such a statement, but the WLCU will not in any way be intimidated by the ill-thought and ill-advised comments of a Minister who glibly seeks to make provocative pronouncements as a cheap political stunt which will not be countenanced by the WLCU, its officers and its members.

For and on behalf

Tony Yacoub
President WLCU
Geographic Regional Council (GRC)
Australia, New Zealand and Oceania

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