Mikati: Fate of Lebanon hangs in doubt until completion of regional image
BEIRUT – Lebanon’s Caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, said the current Lebanese juncture is interweaving, to large extent, with the complexities of situation in Syria, indicating that Lebanon's condition will remain "pending the completion of image on the regional level."
Mikati's fresh stance came Tuesday amidst his meeting with the Arab ambassadors accredited in Germany, in the presence of Caretaker Economy and Trade Minister, Nicholas Nahhas, upon an invitation from the Lebanese Ambassador to Germany, Mustafa Adib.
"Any local understanding relevant to the cabinet formation dossier or other, will not lead to a radical solution to the problem, as the local juncture will remain pending the completion of image in the region."
Commenting on the Syrian situation, Mikati said that the conflict would continue long in the country especially that Syria had become a hub of international conflict over powers and interests.
He said that the terrible situation in the country could not be resolved except through reconciliation among major states.
Mikati has called earlier for a cease-fire in Syria until warring parties at the international, regional and local levels reach a deal to resolve the nearly 3-year-old crisis.
“We are trying to stay away from the Syrian crisis but its humanitarian repercussions on the Lebanese situation have been immense. The number of refugees in Lebanon is at 1 million which has led to social problems including the rise of crime rates on Lebanese soil,” Mikati said.
“Last year, the birth rate was also very high among the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, who lack the minimum required for a decent living or proper documentation. What awaits them is extremism which usually grows in a poor ... environment,” he added.
Officials in Lebanon have said that more than 1.3 million Syrians have fled into the country since the conflict in Syria began in March of 2011.
They have also warned that the presence of refugees, estimated now to be a third of Lebanon’s population, has impacted the country’s fragile economy and demographics.
Mikati, citing a study by the International Monetary Fund, said Lebanon’s national income had suffered indirect losses estimated at $7.5 billion.
He also noted that the sectors which were most affected by the Syrian crisis were trade, transport of commodities and tourism, a trio Mikati described as the basis of Lebanon’s economy.