Газета Аннагар публікує статтю про візит ліванської парламентської делегації в Україну, відзначення Дня Святого Маруна в Києві та українсько-ліванські взаємини
Visit of Lebanese officials to Ukraine
- by Paula Naoufal
- Source: Annahar
- Date added: 13 February 2018
KIEV: Members of the Lebanese parliament, ambassadors and members of the Lebanese press flew to Kiev after a collaborative invitation from the Ukrainian embassy and Lebanese expats residing in Ukraine to attend a St Maroun’s Remembrance Day.
The journey began with a video gone viral of various members of the Lebanese contingent playing musical instruments on board of Bay202. Sara Haidar, a passenger on the airplane, said that the small concert was entertaining during the three-hour long flight. She also added “where there is a Lebanese there is a Goblet drum.”
The first day of the visit started with the Lebanese delegation alongside the Ukrainian Ambassador to Lebanon Igor Ostash, attending a Ukrainian parliamentary session. The four Members of Parliament, Abbas Hashem, Alaa’eddine Terro, Michel Moussa, Kassem Abdel Aziz, and the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada “the Ukrainian parliament” Andriy Parubiy discussed the parliamentary structure of the two countries.
MP Hashem said that although the Ukrainian parliamentary session was generally chaotic, there was a time limit for each speaker of three minutes. This was an idea they are thinking of suggesting to the Lebanese parliament.
The Ukrainian parliament wants to further study the Lebanese constitution and the new electoral law and the possibility of applying it to the Ukrainian parliamentary elections.
The visit was then followed by a stop to the Holodomor victims memorial which is devoted to the victims of the great famine between 1932 and 1933. The delegation visited the site and laid flowers on the memorial.
Later that evening, the Lebanese officials met with the Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman. Hashem said that the talk with Prime Minister foresaw a stronger Lebanese-Ukrainian relationship and hopes for more Lebanese investments in Ukraine. They also discussed the potential visit of the Lebanese PM Saad Hariri to Ukraine in April.
In the afternoon, individuals from various Lebanese press met with Member of Ukrainian Parliament and head of the Ukrainian-Lebanese Parliamentary Friendship Group, Serhiy Sobolev.
Sobolev represents a party that forms the opposition in the parliament on societal and economical issues, but are in parallel with the majority of the government when pertaining to Ukrainian independence and entering the EU. He said that although they do not have a person in the government from their party, when the government wants to discuss major issues such as army and military budget, they work together.
“It’s been 20 years and we have overcome various challenges; now there is one additional factor which is Russian aggression, so now we work on protecting the country from external threats,” he added. “In our parliament, there are a few pro-Russian MPs that want to have Ukraine as a protectorate of Russia, although Russia has invaded our lands, these MPs want to have good relations with them.”
The press corps also met with Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerovis to discuss the ongoing struggle in Crimea. Umerov was the deputy head of the Crimean Tatars’ semi-official Mejlis legislature. He said that Crimean Tatars are being taken away from their basic rights from education to even speaking their own language.
Umerovis said that although he was prosecuted and released, he has hopes to go back to Crimea and work as an activist. When asked if he Crimea would ever go back to how it was, he said “surely, without any doubt.”
The next day consisted of transferring St Maroun’s relics from Lebanon to the Cathedral of St. Alexander in Ukraine in a ceremonial liturgy. Lebanese Ambassador to Ukraine Ali Daher noted during official remarks the importance of the religious relationship between Christians and Muslims, and from Lebanon to the world.
Ostash discussed the importance of building relations between the two nations. Mohammad Baba, a Lebanese Ukrainian residing in Ukraine, said that “in the past few years, Mar Maroun’s Remembrance Day has become a special Lebanese occasion in Ukraine, which the Lebanese people wait for regardless of religion, and that this year’s ceremony is symbolic.”
The main event of the trip was centered around a concert in remembrance of St. Maroun’s day in the National Philharmonic of Ukraine. The concert began with the words of Ukrainian officials praising Lebanon and its stability in light of turmoil.
Moussa noted that Lebanese expatriates all over the world have remained loyal to their allegiance to their homeland. “These kinds of visits are crucial to both the Lebanese expats and for the building of a stronger Ukrainian-Lebanese relationship,” he said.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine Claudio Gugerotti said that Lebanon is a symbol of differences. “This cross was made in Aleppo and now the city ceases to exist, my fellow Lebanese friends remain as you are, not only for the cross but for the world, you are a symbol of coexistence,” he said.
The evening then featured performances, including Lebanese composer Michel Fadel’s performance, who played an array of different songs combining Lebanese and Western Music with Oum Kolthoum and Fairouz.
“It is clear that Lebanon has a special place in the hearts of the Ukrainians,” Rosanna Rammal OTV presenter and attendee said.