BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Mikati says not attached to current Cabinet

File Photo of Prime Minister Najib Mikati. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Najib Mikati said he was ready for the possibility of forming a new government to replace the current one, in remarks published Sunday.

He also defended the General Security apparatus’ recent deportation of 14 Syrians to their country, saying that the humanitarian conditions of Syrian refugees should not preclude court rulings in criminal cases.

“The Cabinet can go today before tomorrow, I don’t have a problem [with this],” An-Nahar quoted Mikati as saying.

“Beware of thinking that I am attached to it. On the contrary, I’d prefer to form a government of one [political stripe] like in any other country in the world. And when this is possible -- and I hope it will be soon -- I will be ready,” the prime minister said.

Mikati added that his government, which is dominated by the March 8 political coalition, has succeeded in resolving some issues, but admitted that it failed in other fields “as a result of known political complications.”

“Beware of thinking for a moment that anyone can intimidate us with the fate of the government,” he said.

Since the formation of Mikati’s Cabinet in June of last year, the opposition March 14 coalition has repeatedly demanded the resignation of the government and has held it responsible for all security and socio-economic problems, including assassination attempts on opposition figures.

Mikati defended the General Security’s deportation of 14 Syrians to their country due to criminal offenses they have committed. “There are Syrian detainees in Lebanon accused of crimes related to politics; Syrian authorities are asking for their handover [but] we have rejected their request.”

He added that the General Security’s decision to expel the 14 Syrians was not related to politics or events in Syria, adding that six of the 14 men had attacked an army officer and (separately) vandalized his house, four men forged official signatures, two carried out thefts, one sexually assaulted someone and the other distributed pornographic movies.

“The humanitarian reality of the Syrian refugees should not preclude the implementation of court rulings against perpetrators of crimes or offenses which have nothing to do with politics,” he said.

 

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