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"The Time Has Come"

"The Time Has Come"The ongoing violence in the Middle East threatens the fabric of world peace, said H.E. Issam M. Fares -- Lebanon's Deputy Prime Minister -- during his visit to Tufts.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.15.02] As the violence again heats up in the Middle East, Lebanon's Deputy Prime Minister Issam M. Fares called for a return to a long term peace process in the region. His remarks -- delivered during Tufts' annual Fares Lecture Series -- were made just hours after he helped dedicate a new center on Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts.

"For too long, our region has been allowed to drift into violence ... threatening the fabric of world peace," said Fares, who formerly served on Tufts' Board of Trustees.

With violence in the Middle East on the rise, Fares said the United States must take a more active role in the region.

"Fares called on the U.S. to 'take the lead' in realizing a 'comprehensive' regional peace as he introduced former U.S. President Bill Clinton as the keynote speaker at the annual Issam M. Fares Lecture Series," reported The Daily Star -- Lebanon's leading English-language newspaper.

Recently, he said, too much time has been spent trying to bring a short-term end to acts of violence rather than re-establishing the peace process.

"In recent months, Mr. President, the bigger issue of peace has been set aside," Fares said to Clinton, and the 5,000 students, faculty and staff in attendance.

Stressing the importance of dialogue, Fares said renewed peace in the region is the only way to curb extremism in the Middle East.

"Only this way will we reverse the tide of fundamentalism and the excesses of extremist ideology," Fares said.

Praising Clinton's efforts to broker a settlement, Fares said there is still hope for ending the violence.

"As you address our shared future, [Mr. President], we must think of it in our region in terms of peace," Fares said during Wednesday's lecture.

Earlier in the day, the Lebanese leader was on hand for the opening of Tufts' Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies.

Focused on studying both the heritage and challenges of the region -- including Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Israel and Turkey -- the Fares center is slated to undertake cross-regional analysis to address public policy issues, conflict resolution and new research.

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