Monti Meets Miqati, Hopes Suleiman's Efforts Will Resolve Current Crisis

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  • W460
  • W460
  • W460

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti expressed on Wednesday his country's support for President Michel Suleiman's efforts in trying to reconcile the government and the opposition alliance in Lebanon.

"We value the efforts made by Suleiman and we hope both conflicting sides will be able to overcome these critical times,” Monti said during a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Najib Miqati in Italy.

"We praise the cabinet's policy of disassociation towards Syria's events,” Monti added, saluting the “responsible attitude of Lebanese parties that try to resist the repercussions that could be produced by the neighboring country's war”.

"Lebanon will always be the cornerstone of stability in the region,” he stated.

After the assassination of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau chief Brigadier General Wissam al-Hasan on October 19 in Beirut, the March 14 alliance announced that it will be boycotting the government's work as well as the national dialogue sessions, awaiting Miqati's cabinet resignation.

Hasan was killed in a massive car bomb in Beirut's Ashrafiyeh district.

The March 14 camp held Syria responsible for the crime and the cabinet of covering it up.

The Italian Prime Minister said that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon presided over by his country contributes to the efforts exerted by Lebanese authorities to preserve peace and security in the South, denying any upcoming plans to expand UNIFIL's mission to include monitoring the border with Syria.

“We might have reduced the number of the Italian peacekeepers in Lebanon in the past for financial reasons, but this will not happen again in the near future,” Monti said, announcing that Italy will host a training camp for 40 Lebanese officers on watching the border.

Monti and Miqati also discussed economic and trade accords between the two countries and the Lebanese PM revealed that they both agreed to pursue executing their articles, especially those related to Italy's obligations towards Lebanon enlisted in the conclusions of “Paris III Conference”.

Hosted in France in 2007, Paris III is an international conference on economic aid for Lebanon that aimed at rebuilding the country and support its economy, especially after the losses it suffered following the war with Israel in July 2006.

Miqati revealed that he asked Italy and the European Union to offer help to Lebanon in accommodating and aiding the growing number of Syrian refugees coming to Lebanon through the borders.

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