Ambassador Shorter to his guests at the Queen’s Birthday Party: ‘Our long lasting partnership would not have been possible or successful without you’
On the occasion of the official celebration Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 92nd birthday, hosted in the spectacular backdrop of Beirut Container Port, the British Ambassador Hugo Shorter announced to his audience:
…We remain a strong partner to Lebanon investing in its future stability, security and prosperity.
Attended by their excellencies Minister Raed Khoury, representing President Michel Aoun, MP Ibrahim Azar, representing Speaker Nabih Berri, Minister Jean Oghassapian, representing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, as well key figures from the political, business and media worlds, guests flooded the British Village set-up at Beirut port – a prime example of the UK’s largest investment in Lebanon- bringing out the UK-Lebanon longstanding partnership that is both GREAT and beautiful under this year’s theme ‘GREAT Britain….Beautiful Lebanon’. 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 evening’s theme ‘GREAT Britain… Beautiful Lebanon’ at the Beirut port was a fantastic showcase of what the partnership between two great countries, both with a proud maritime and trading history, can achieve and how it is both GREAT and beautiful.
Beirut container port operated by Beirut Container Terminal Consortium (BCTC) is – a joint venture between Lebanese and UK companies – 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. It has never been busier in its 3,500-year history, and is now the busiest Port in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Addressing his guests in his last Queen’s Birthday Party speech, as his mission as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Lebanon comes to an end this summer, Ambassador Shorter spoke with his heart about his three years in Lebanon.
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.
On the UK and Lebanon standing shoulder-to-shoulder over the last three years and the years to come Ambassador Shorter flagged that none of this partnership be it with the LAF, ISF, Ministry of Education and other partners – would have been possible with the hard work done by the many Lebanese who want to build a better country for their children.
Remembering a dear colleague and friend Becky Dykes who left us 6 months ago in tragic circumstances, Ambassador Shorter said:
…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….
In his final words as a friend of Lebanon and reiterating the UK’s continued partnership and investment in the country’s stability, security and prosperity, Ambassador Shorter hoped that a government be formed as soon as possible focusing on essential economic reforms and that distances Lebanon from regional turmoil, asking the Lebanese to take their future into their own hands.
The Queen’s Birthday reception was made possible thanks to the port’s security agencies, BCTC and the generous contribution of our sponsors: Mana Automotive, Risk Advisory Group, BCTC, DG Jones, Rymco, United Automotive Agencies, Allo Taxi, Diageo, Colonel Beer, G4S, Levant Investment Bank, SADCO and Promethean.