Lebanon News

Syria crisis posing greater danger to Lebanon: Mikati

Mikati speaking during the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at ESCWA headquarters in Beirut, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati urged Friday the warring political sides to stop bickering as the conflict in Syria threatens Lebanon’s stability.

“Now is more important than ever before to stop the division and the bickering because the fire next-door [Syria] has now penetrated [deeper] into the heart of Lebanon and threatens further fires,” Mikati said during the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

He said recent car bombings in Beirut and the northern city of Tripoli were good examples of the magnitude of the danger threatening Lebanon.

Mikati also said that Lebanon was the country most affected by the Palestinian cause and blamed the international community for ignoring their plight.

“The international community is responsible toward granting Palestinians their rights,” he said, adding that failing to do so means that international justice has a double standard.

Mikati stressed that no peace deal could be reached without the Palestinian right of return.

He also said that the Palestinian cause was no longer a priority for the Arabs given the regional turmoil, particularly in Syria, and hailed Palestinians for adopting a self-avowed disassociation policy toward the Syria crisis and staying out of Lebanon’s politics.

He also praised Palestinians for preventing refugee camps in Lebanon from being transformed into platforms for terrorist activity.

Turning to the recent nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, Mikati said that the agreement could pave the way for resolving regional issues with the Israel-Palestinian conflict at the forefront.

“We hope that [the Iran deal] will be concluded with an Arab-Iranian dialogue that will protect [peoples’] rights and prevent strife,” he said from the ESCWA headquarters in Downtown Beirut.

Mikati also expressed hope that the Lebanese would act wisely to the positive development in the region and urged politicians to head for National Dialogue without preconditions or wagering on regional changes.

For his part, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah stressed that the Palestinian refugee camps based in Lebanon were “under the legitimate Lebanese authorities."

Hamdallah said the hardships experienced by millions of Palestinian refugees and the Palestinian Diaspora required immediate global intervention.

"The suffering of our people – in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, in Jerusalem and its surroundings, in villages marginalized and threatened by [Israeli] settlement [expansion] as well as the ongoing suffering of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan and in the Diaspora – necessitates the immediate intervention of the international community and the forces of peace, love and justice in the world to compel Israel to implement the requirements of the peace process,” Hamdallah said.

Israel, he said, must realize the consequences of violations on the future of the entire peace process and on the two-state solution.

Hamdallah vowed that both the Palestinian people and authority would “confront all attempts to reduce our national rights.”

He also reiterated that the Palestinian demand for a state based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.

The leader also renewed calls for resolving the Palestinian refugee issue on the basis of U.N. Resolution 194 as per part of the Arab Peace Initiative.





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