Prime Minister Najib Miqati stated on Thursday that Lebanon “cannot rise” without its local residents and expatriates, highlighting the Lebanese cabinet’s approval of a mechanism to allow expatriates to vote in the 2013 parliamentary elections.
He urged before Lebanese expatriates in Belgium “Lebanese all over the world to register at embassies and consulates in order to be able to vote in the elections.”
“We have provided all necessary means for the expatriates and cabinet’s decision would be useless if you do not sign up,” he added.
“It is not acceptable to simply criticize the current reality without taking part in the elections. Lebanon’s most unique feature is its freedom,” remarked the premier.
“We don’t all have to share the same views, but we should voice our opinions through voting,” stressed Miqati.
The prime minister concluded on Friday his three-day visit to Belgium by holding talks with EU President Herman Van Rompuy, European parliament President Martin Schulz, and Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.
Van Rompuy “commended Miqati’s efforts to maintain stability in his country, which is an example of cultural and religious diversity, and encouraged him at the same time to progress with domestic reforms.”
“The EU is ready to accompany Lebanon on these reforms, to transform challenges into opportunities,” he added.
“I also encouraged Lebanon to accede to the World Trade Organization and to increase its participation in the process of regional integration,” he said.
He also expressed the full commitment of the EU to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to guarantee stability in southern Lebanon, welcoming Lebanon’s commitment to the implementation of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701.
On the crisis in Syria, Van Rompuy remarked: “The growing number of displaced people fleeing the crisis in Syria is a matter of great concern for both of us.”
“A significant number of them are finding temporary refuge in Lebanon. I welcome the efforts of the Lebanese authorities to provide assistance to these refugees, and I salute the generosity of the Lebanese people that provide shelter to those in need,” said the EU official.
During his visit, Miqati held talks with his Belgian counterpart Elio Di Rupo and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso among other EU officials.
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