BEIRUT: Russia is keen on Lebanon remaining at a distance from the repercussions of the crisis in neighboring Syria, Moscow’s ambassador to Beirut said Monday.
“[Russia] insists on distancing Lebanon from what is happening in the region, mainly Syria, so that the situation in Lebanon remains stable and safe,” Alexander Zasypkin said following a meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
“This is one of the priorities of Russian foreign policy at the current stage,” he said, according to a statement from Mikati’s office.
The Russian envoy also said his country was exerting all efforts to prevent possible U.S.-led military action against the regime of President Bashar Assad over Damascus’ alleged use of chemical weapons.
“We want to [reach] political settlement before the military solution but obviously the United States and its allies have other intentions,” he said.
“We are trying to convince them to back off from their decision to strike Syria and we warn every one of the repercussions of such a strike, especially when we can still reach a political breakthrough.”
Mikati met several officials at the Grand Serail Monday, including Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Giuseppe Morabito.
He said his country had not asked Italian nationals to leave Lebanon “because the situation is still calm,” the statement from Mikati’s office said.
Morabito also stressed the need for Lebanon’s commitment to the self-disassociation policy from events in neighboring Syria.
For his part, Mikati stressed the need for all political parties to cooperate to form a new Cabinet capable of tackling several pending issues in light of the “dangerous developments in the region.”
He also called on all political rivals to commit to “the policy of disassociation from the developments in Syria.”
Mikati later chaired a security meeting at the Grand Serail to address the situation in Tripoli, north Lebanon, in light of the Aug. 23 twin bombings that claimed the lives of 47 people.
The PM hailed the efforts of the Army and security forces in preserving security and expressed hope that all sides would continue to cooperate with the security forces in order to safeguard Tripoli's security.
The meeting was attended by caretaker Ministers Fayez Ghosn, Marwan Charbel, Mohammad Safadi, Faisal Karami, Ahmad Karami and several lawmakers and senior security officials.