Mikati chairs broad ministerial meeting on latest developments


Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Monday presided over a broad ministerial meeting that discussed the latest security and military developments in Lebanon and the region.

Mikati had initially called for a Cabinet session before replacing it with a “consultative ministerial meeting.” The meeting was attended by the ministers of the Free Patriotic Movements who have been boycotting Cabinet sessions since the end of Michel Aoun’s term as president.

“I wanted to hold this meeting to discuss the security situation in general, in the south in particular, in addition to the refugee file and the availability of goods in the country,” Mikati said at the beginning of the meeting.

“We meet together to consult and think together of the criticality of the situation, security-wise and at the national level, and to discuss the steps that should be taken to immunize social stability,” the premier added.

“Lebanon should have a unified stance in the face of the international community regarding the Syrian refugee issue,” Mikati said.

Referring to the murder of Lebanese Forces official Pascal Sleiman and the tensions it created, the premier hailed the efforts of the army and security forces and the “seriousness of the investigations.”

He also lauded “the calls for rationality and patience” by the political and religious leaders, calling on security agencies to “address the increase in the crimes that are being committed by some displaced Syrians.”

“We ask the interior minister to be strict in enforcing Lebanese laws on all (Syrian) refugees and to be firm with any cases that violate these laws,” Mikati added.

Moreover, Mikati said the domestic incidents “should not make us forget about the Israeli aggression in the south and the fall of martyrs.”

“We have repeatedly said that we are not advocates of war, but we cannot remain silent over the Israeli attacks and we do not accept that our airspace be violated,” the PM added.

“Israel is dragging the region to war and the international community should pay attention to this and put an end to this war,” Mikati urged.

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