Lebanese Govt. to Communicate with Syria for First Time since 2011


The Lebanese government has officially tasked one of its members to communicate with Damascus, in the first such move since the eruption of the Syrian revolt in 2011.

Visits by ministers in the previous governments had taken place in personal capacity or following an oral approval from the prime minister.

The decision was taken at Cabinet’s first session at the Grand Serail on Wednesday.

“Industry Minister George Boujikian and Agriculture Minister Abbas al-Hajj Hassan demonstrated the difficulties that the agricultural and industrial exports are facing, especially as to the high transport cost,” al-Akhbar newspaper said on Thursday.

“When (Prime Minister Najib) Miqati asked Public Works and Transport Minister Ali Hamiyeh about the reasons, the latter explained to him the crisis of high fees on Lebanese trucks that transit via Syria to Arab countries,” the daily added.

The premier then asked Hamiyeh to communicate with the Syrian side to find solutions, stressing that “there is no problem in communicating with anyone if it does not harm the country’s interests.”

Hamiyeh, however, insisted that the issue should take place based on an “official authorization” from the government, prompting Miqati to tell him that the government officially authorizes him to “communicate with his Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian and Turkish counterparts,” al-Akhbar added.

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