The German "Berghof" Foundation, in cooperation with the German and Swiss embassies in Beirut, launched the Arabic version of the book "National Dialogue - A Guide for Practitioners" at the Phoenicia Hotel, under the patronage of PM-designate Saad Hariri, represented by caretaker Minister of State for Women's Affairs, Jean Ogassapian, in the presence of representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Lebanon, Pernille Kardel, and Lebanese and Arab experts who discussed the lessons learned from the Lebanese and regional national dialogue experiences.

"There is nothing better than dialogue, and everything is better than war. Germany has lived two world wars and is well aware of what wars bring along. For this reason, war and conflict prevention are of the pillars of the German foreign policy," German Ambassador Jorg Berglin said.

"It is not permissible to use repression. What is required is national dialogue for it is key to overcome the political and sectarian conflicts. Lebanon's experience in dialogue between all political spectrums is important. Such a dialogue should be the reference for resolving all differences," he said.

Ambassador of Switzerland, Monika Schmutz Kirgoz, in turn said: "Dialogue in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Tunisia is necessary. It is necessary to improve dialogue skills. Unfortunately, sometimes consensus is not made, which leads to losses that affect everyone. Dialogue does not occur without concession, even if that leads to limited gains."

"The Lebanese are eager for dialogue and this is a positive thing. It is the only way to reaching a settlement. (...) Participation in dialogue requires courage and we encourage it so as to reach a solution to disputes," she said.

Delivering his word on behalf of Hariri, Minister Ogassapian said "What is happening in the Arab region of tragedies and destruction is not part of our values. It has wreaked death, displacement and destruction. The main question remains: Would it have been possible to transform dictatorships into democratic regimes without having to go through these wars? Political and national dialogue needs a new political culture and principles based on education and acceptance of the other. This may not be available to achieve a peaceful transformation through dialogue and political debate. Unfortunately, this principle is applied only after the country is pushed towards tragedies."

"Dialogue is key to removing all the barriers among people. With dialogue we can overcome all the differences and bridge the gap between all of us. There must be a permanent space for dialogue to build viable nations based on respect for human rights, freedoms and democracy. The logic of dialogue and acceptance of the other, whatever his ideas, beliefs or sect, is the only way to build any country," he concluded.

Source: National News Agency

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