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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The solution in Lebanon begins with electing a president

Mikati to Asharq Al-Awsat: “Ground dialogue” is a way out for everyone

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati held the Christian political forces responsible for the delay in implementing the reforms required by the international community and the International Monetary Fund, saying that his government had completed draft reform laws and referred them to the House of Representatives, which the Christian political forces refuse to convene to legislate them, in light of the presidential vacancy. It gives priority to electing the president over everything else.

While he stressed the necessity of electing a president of the republic as “the beginning of the solution to the crises,” he described the initiative announced by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri for dialogue followed by successive sessions to elect the president as “a way out for all,” and he hoped that the five-member committee concerned with the Lebanese file would issue a call to the Lebanese to respond to Berri’s call for dialogue.

Mikati said in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of his participation in the meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, that Lebanon is a founding member of the United Nations and remains present and active, and if its file is no longer a priority in light of other international files, then “for us it remains a basic priority, and we will remain We present his case and problems to all the conferences that are held, and we cannot be late in attending,” stressing that “Lebanon will not be absent, and no one can make it absent.”

A photo from the Lebanese government’s account at X-Lemikati in New York

Mikati rejected the estimates that Lebanese officials are seeking external interference in their internal affairs, saying: “It is true that some Lebanese are seeking the help of effective countries to put pressure on the Lebanese parties, but at the same time, they themselves are saying that any internal Lebanese entitlement must be resolved locally,” pointing to He is “a supporter of the necessity of the solution being Lebanese, because no one understands the method of the solution like the Lebanese themselves.”

Mikati pointed out that “the main dilemma today in Lebanon is the election of the president,” and therefore he expressed his belief that “the path drawn by President Nabih Berri in his last speech, which is based on a seven-day dialogue followed by continuous sessions to elect a president, is the best solution because the dialogue was not in accordance with Berri put forward something conditional: everyone is required to come to a specific place and take a compulsory path to elect a president.

Pointing out that the constitution does not impose dialogue before electing the president, and that the matter may be a precedent, he said: “When the presidency remains vacant for a year, and all solutions to reach the election of a president have been exhausted, the solution proposed by Berri becomes logical,” asking: “Where is the harm in Unconditional dialogue for seven days before continuous sessions that everyone demands to end the vacancy?

Mikati believed that “everyone must respond to Berri’s call to hold a dialogue that he will not chair and does not impose prior or subsequent conditions for,” noting that it is “a basic and safe path to ending the presidential vacancy.”

Iranian influence

In response to the opposition’s assessments that Iran’s influence prevents the election of a president, Mikati did not deny that there is a role for Hezbollah in Lebanon, but he asked: “Did the Lebanese meet and take a decision and the party opposed that?” He added: “From today I say: No.” This dialogue necessarily produces a certain agreement, but it was a suggestion from Berri to carry out this directing. Let this solution be a way out for everyone, and then we will see who obstructs, who wants to elect a president, and who does not want to.”

He pointed to the meetings of the Five-Year Committee, which represents the United States, France, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Egypt, on the Lebanese file, noting that the three Arab countries represented in it “are good friends of Lebanon,” and added: “Therefore, I hope that their call in the next session will respond to the call for dialogue.” To end the vacancy.

Mikati speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat in New York (Asharq Al-Awsat)

He pointed out that the election of the president “will not completely solve Lebanon’s crisis, but it will be the door or hope that will be opened for this window in order to reach a new government with new blood, and carry out the required reforms, and it will not be an excuse for Parliament, in which some representatives say that we are not looking at reforms in light of presidential vacancy,” and then “Parliament will begin a real workshop to produce reform laws required by the international community and the International Monetary Fund, which are ultimately in the interest of Lebanon and the organization of the Lebanese state.”

Mikati believed that the IMF’s criticism of Lebanon “resulted from Parliament not meeting to produce the required laws.” He pointed to the boycott by Christian political forces, led by the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces, of legislative sessions in Parliament in light of the presidential vacancy, saying that electing the president is their priority.

Mikati denied any responsibility on his government for delaying the reforms, saying that it had sent draft laws to Parliament for approval, but some say that he will not participate before a president is elected, and asked: “How can the crisis be resolved in light of this boycott?”

Stressing that the solution begins with electing a president, he said: “If they do not want that, they must consider the laws proposed in the Parliament in order to carry out the necessary reform, and it will be a serious message to the IMF and Western countries to reopen international aid to Lebanon, including CEDRE project funds worth 11 billion.” .

He said about Hezbollah that it is “cooperative and positive in terms of supporting most of the required reforms, but the Christian team does not see the need for any urgent matter before electing a president of the republic.” He added: “The issue is not related to the party, but rather to the presidential vacancy, which is what the Christian team wants.” This group demands the priority of electing a president of the republic. Let them elect a president today.”

Saudi mother and father

Mikati expressed his regret over those who say that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not see Lebanon as a priority for it. He continued: “For me, Saudi Arabia remains, in all cases, the mother, father, and brother for Lebanon. When you want to anticipate the future, you have to look to the past. She was always with Lebanon. “I am certain that the Kingdom will not abandon Lebanon.”

Mikati stressed that “there must be a change in the Lebanese mentality and not in the texts,” stressing that the Taif Agreement “is the valid agreement for this time, but its implementation is the problem.” He said: “The political class must meet and develop, for once, a kind of complete analysis of how to implement the Taif Agreement. We cannot apply one material without another. The issue is comprehensive, and the constitution must be fully implemented.” He added: “The Lebanese must reform themselves and realize that they have no choice but a strong, just state that can rule among all the Lebanese. The problem is that some want the state over others and not themselves,” stressing that “there is no choice but the state.”

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