British Embassy Beirut Celebrates The Queen's Birthdayإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The UK remains “a strong partner to Lebanon investing in its future stability, security and prosperity,” British Ambassador Hugo Shorter said, during a ceremony celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s 92nd birthday.
Shorter spoke with his heart about his three years in Lebanon as he addressed his guests in his last Queen’s Birthday Party speech, seeing as his mission as ambassador to Lebanon comes to an end this summer.
To his Lebanese friends and hosts, he said: “Laura and I will take with us the memory of the enormous warmth, hospitality and sense of fun of our hosts, and the genius for enterprise, the energy and the creativity of the Lebanese people, our wonder for Lebanon’s resilience... And we will take with us unforgettable images of your amazing country, Lebanon.”
Shorter said the UK's partnership with Lebanon and its army, Internal Security Forces, Ministry of Education and other partners would not have been possible without “the hard work done by the many Lebanese who want to build a better country for their children.”
Remembering Becky Dykes, the British embassy employee who was killed by a Lebanese Uber driver six months ago, Shorter added; “…We are extremely proud to support the Rebecca Dykes Foundation, who are here tonight, in their mission to continue Becky’s commitment work to support vulnerable communities.”
And reiterating the UK’s “continued partnership and investment in the country’s stability, security and prosperity,” Shorter hoped that a government be formed as soon as possible focusing on “essential economic reforms.”
The ambassador also called on the new government to distance Lebanon from regional turmoil, asking the Lebanese to “take their future into their own hands.”
Hosted in the spectacular backdrop of Beirut Container Port, the event was attended by Minister Raed Khoury, representing President Michel Aoun, MP Ibrahim Azar, representing Speaker Nabih Berri, Minister Jean Oghassabian, representing Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, as well key figures from the political, business and media worlds.
Guests flooded the British Village set-up at Beirut port, which the British embassy described in a statement as “a prime example of the UK’s largest investment in Lebanon.”
The ceremony was held under this year’s theme ‘GREAT Britain....Beautiful Lebanon’ as One Lebanon star Tania Kassis sang the national anthems.
“Guests had a taste of the finest fusion of British and Lebanese cuisine, explored some of the greatest British engineering in the world through one of the 350 donated Land Rovers by the UK to the Lebanese Armed Forces, McLaren and Lotus supercars, and had the opportunity to leave their message in graffiti style of what does “GREAT Britain, beautiful Lebanon” mean to them,” the British embassy said.
Beirut container port operated by Beirut Container Terminal Consortium (BCTC) is a joint venture between Lebanese and UK companies and has in 15 years “created more than 3000 local jobs, boosted container handling four-fold to 1.2 million, and employs a genuinely cross-confessional workforce,” the embassy added.
“It has never been busier in its 3,500-year history, and is now the busiest Port in the Eastern Mediterranean,” it said.