Miqati from Belgium: Maintaining Stability Mustn’t Prevent us from Implementing Reformإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Prime Minister Najib Miqati stated on Friday that Lebanon has long stood as an example of tolerance and democracy in the region, adding that the country is serious in implementing political, economic, and social reform.
He said: “Maintaining stability must not prevent us from implementing all forms of necessary reform, regardless how painful they may be.”
He made his remarks in a joint press conference with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Belgium.
“The reform will be aimed at bolstering the growth of Lebanon’s civil society,” added the premier.
“We share with the European Union values of freedom and democracy and respect for human rights and the rule of law. I am here today to bolster the excellent ties that Lebanon has long enjoyed with the union,” continued Miqati.
“The level of commercial trade between Lebanon and the EU demonstrates how important Europe is to us,” he said.
On this note, he remarked that the “values the EU’s commitment to helping Lebanon overcome the instability in the region.”
“I also appreciate Barroso’s awareness of the importance of maintaining stability in Lebanon,” the premier noted.
Addressing the situation in Syria, Miqati defended the Lebanese government’s decision to dissociate itself from the unrest, attributing the choice to the “historic, economic, and social ties between the two countries.”
“We don’t want to create further disputes in Lebanon as it is already divided,” he continued.
“We still would not have been able to do anything even if the entire Lebanese population supported the Syrian regime,” he remarked.
“Why should we incur more problems on Lebanon?” he asked.
For his part, Barroso said that it is up to the head of the Lebanese state to determine the country’s position on Syria.
He also voiced the European Commission’s readiness to assist Syrian refugees who have flooded Lebanon’s northern border to escape the Syrian regime’s crackdown against protests.
He praised Miqati’s efforts in preserving peace and stability in Lebanon in light of the difficult regional situation, voicing his support to the premier to continue with the reform.
The only way to guarantee long-term stability lies in introducing reform, he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Miqati hailed the “excellent ties” between Lebanon and the European countries especially Belgium, and considered that resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the key for peace.
“We know that we are far from achieving the peace due to the Israeli policies,” he said during a meeting with President of the Belgian Senate Sabine de Bethune.
The two discussed the bilateral ties and the cooperation between the two countries through the Belgian-Lebanese Friendship Committee.
Bethune expressed satisfaction with the participation of her country with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
On the Syrian crisis, Miqati urged for an end to the violence and bloodshed in the neighboring country, lauding U.N.-Arab countries envoy Kofi Annan’s plan to end the turmoil in Damascus.
He noted that Lebanon’s decision to disassociate itself from the Syrian crisis is to preserve the country from all the negative repercussions and to maintain stability.
“Lebanon is doing its humanitarian duties towards all the Syrian refugees who have fled the (year-long crisis in) their country,” Miqati stated.
The premier also held talks with Belgian speaker André Flahaut.
Flahaut stressed his country’s commitment to UNIFIL and its contribution of a demining contingent.
For his part, Miqati thanked Brussels for its continuous support to Lebanon.
“The international community, especially Belgium, should prioritize supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces with equipment and skills to be able to fully carry out its tasks,” the premier noted.
Miqati arrived in Brussels on Wednesday on a three-day official visit and met with his Belgian counterpart Elio Di Rupo.