Good evening. Thank you Walid for your remarks it's as usual informative and insightful.
Allow me all to wish you a happy Valentine's Day and to thank you for being here to discuss The Road to 1559 - Lebanon at the Core of the George W. Bush Administration a book written by Stephen Kauffman about UNSC Resolution 1559 that calls upon foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon and for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, as well as supports the extension of the control of the government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory.
We have among our panelists no one other than Ambassador Terje Roed-Larsen the UN Secretary-General Special Envoy for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559. We will grab this opportunity to ask his Excellency questions. The book describes the passage of the resolution from Walid Maalouf's point of views as public delegate at the USUN mission and the perspectives of other former and current US officials in the State Department and elsewhere as well as others with or who have strong interest in Lebanon. Among those individuals we have two of our distinguished panelists Ambassador Richard Murphy and Dr. Joseph Gebeily and of course Walid Maalouf.
You can all ask them your questions after they speak.
Now if you think that this book is only about politics and policy shift of the US towards Syria and Lebanon, then think twice. It actually goes with the spirit of this Valentine's Day. It is somehow a love story; the love, passion and dedication of Walid Maalouf a Lebanese born American to his home country Lebanon. However, like many love stories, they unfortunately end by betrayal and deception and I don't mean to be pessimistic but according to our panelist Mr. J. Scott Carpenter the promise of resolution 1559 and Walid Maalouf's efforts to introduce a new way of politics in Lebanon are ultimately both thwarted. On the other hand, the "staunch Maronite" as Ambassador Murphy once called him (even though Walid is Melkite) with his brain of an Orthodox because according to Walid orthodox are stubborn has relentlessly knocked the doors of the state department and pushed them to get his way through for the benefit and the interests of Lebanon… because he strongly believes in the independence and full sovereignty of the country.
According to Ambassador John Negroponte who was US permanent representative to the UN at the time of Walid's appointment as public delegate, he said and I quote: "Although resolution 1559 was passed after both Walid and I had left NY, I am certain it would never even have seen the light of day had it not been for Walid's initiative and persistence."
Ladies and gentlemen resolution 1559 marked a turning point in Lebanon's recent history. It led to the withdrawal of the Syrian troops and military assets from Lebanon in April 2005. It also led to the establishment for the first time of full diplomatic relations between Lebanon and Syria. Yet other provisions remain to be implemented.
So ladies and gentlemen to discuss this book let me present to you our panelist.