Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced on Monday that he has not yet visited Syria or Saudi Arabia.
On September 10, the Mikati government was formed, after 13 months of stumbling; Because of political differences, since Hassan Diab’s government resigned on August 10, 2020, 6 days after a catastrophic explosion in the port of the capital, Beirut.
Speaking about his upcoming foreign visits, Mikati said, via the Lebanese channel “LBCI”: “So far, there has been no visit to Syria, and I cannot take any step that harms Lebanon’s interest without cover from the international community.”
In 2011, popular protests erupted in Syria calling for the start of a peaceful transfer of power, but the regime of Bashar al-Assad repressed them militarily, which pushed the country into a devastating war.
He continued, “Also, so far, there is no specific visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Mikati said, “Lebanon is an independent, sovereign nation with an Arab identity, and I do not allow it to be a platform against our Arab brothers in any way.”
He added: “Lebanon must distance itself and build good relations with the international community and Arab countries.”
Critics say that Iran is trying to control Lebanon, through its ally, the Lebanese “Hezbollah” group, which the group and Tehran usually deny.
Western and Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia, accuse Iran of having an expansionist agenda in the region and of interfering in the internal affairs of Arab countries, while Tehran says it is committed to the policy of good neighborliness.
Mikati continued, “We seek to stop the collision that will befall Lebanon, and our goal is to contribute to addressing what is happening, especially since the country has lived in a vacuum for 13 months.”
About two years ago, Lebanon suffered the worst economic crisis in its modern history, which led to a financial collapse and a scarcity of fuel, medicine and other basic commodities, due to the lack of foreign exchange required for import.
Commenting on Hezbollah’s recent entry of tanks loaded with Iranian fuel into Lebanon, Mikati said: “As a statesman, I am saddened by the violation of Lebanese sovereignty and the boasting of using illegal corridors (through Syria) to bring in Iranian diesel.”
Regarding the upcoming elections, he stated that “the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities is preparing to hold the parliamentary elections next March, before the holy month of Ramadan.”