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LARP II Delegates with His Excellency the President of Lebanon General Michel Sleiman

LARP II Delegates With Governor Riad Salameh of the Central Bank of Lebanon

LARP I Delegates with Minister Haddad Representing the Prime Minister of Lebanon

Translation from Arabic by Ms. Marie-Therese Zahr

The Lebanese American Renaissance Partnership held its third conference in Beirut under the title "Solidarity with Lebanon: Neutrality the Road for Prosperity" in the presence of Lebanese and American personalities from both public and private sectors.

Several issues related to economy, environment, infrastructure, Techchnology and communications, oil and gas, and many others were discussed.

The opening session presented a general overview where participants, notably the Honorable WalidMaalouf, President of LARP, former American Congressman the Honorable Nick Rahal, the president of the Lebanese- American Chamber of Commerce Mr. Salim Zeeni, and business leader Mr. Neemat Frem stressed the critical situation in Lebanon.

The subjects focused on vital issues essential in general for Lebanon, its future economy, and on the possibilities for overcoming the crisis that besets the region.

Three main sessions were held where speakers insisted on environment issues in their different aspects that did not need new laws to address environmental matters but to apply the existing legislation properly.

The second session discussed the Information and Communication Technology sector, which is considered a vital sector in need of disruptive innovation on legal, organizational and administrative levels in order to permit the Lebanese to receive the best possible service, to generate large revenues for the state; besides private sector should play a main role in building partnerships with the public sector and in providing support.

The third session pointed to oil and gas and other natural resources that could help the Lebanese economy, provided the two concepts of transparency and control are implemented in order to prevent corrupted individuals from entering these sectors and spoiling them at the expense of the Lebanese citizens and state development.

The participants stressed in the final session on the importance of electing a President as soon as possible in order to preserve the state and its institutions.

As for the recommendations, the following were adopted:

1. Environment: The existing regulations are considered efficient but are not enough. Rereading of environment laws that should conform to international legal developments and environment requirements in Lebanon, to prepare a comprehensive plan of action in order to enforce the existing laws in relation to the environment by issuing executive decrees allowing the environment item to become a main and effective topic. They underscored as well the dangerous water crisis and its national and human repercussions, the importance of an efficient and quick movement to set a national strategy and put it into effect. They also suggested forming a national committee including members of both private and public sectors aiming at protecting the environment.

2. Telecom field: At the end of the discussions, it was decided that the private sector should play a role as important as the public to participate in financing, managing and organizing these services and to form a committee composed of both sectors in order to make this field effective.

3. Natural resources, particularly oil, exploration for which is still pending despite the fact that neighboring countries to Lebanon have already started the work. The exploration is expected to have positive outcomes on financial and economical levels. It was stressed that it is important to implement the principle of transparency in order to protect public money.

4. Exempting NGOs from taxes to allow them to fulfill their mission.

However, it was proposed to have a strict control of the implementation of framework legislation issued in the petrol sector and to issue executive decrees in relation to its development, amendment or change.

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