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Mikati Hopes for Breakthrough in Efforts Aimed at Mending Lebanese-Gulf Ties

Mikati Hopes for Breakthrough in Efforts Aimed at Mending Lebanese-Gulf Ties

Monday, 21 March, 2022 - 07:00
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati attends a joint press conference after his meeting with his Jordanian counterpart at the Grand Serail in Beirut, on September 30, 2021. (AFP)

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati is hoping that a breakthrough can be reached in efforts aimed at mending relations between Beirut and Gulf countries.

He held telephone talks with Kuwait Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al Sabah. Kuwait had last year delivered to Lebanon a Gulf initiative aimed at resolving the rift.

Mikati told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Lebanese government "is open" to the initiative that Sheikh Ahmed had delivered to Beirut.

"The government is positively dealing with the proposal and is assured by the Saudi initiative to set up a fund to support non-government organizations," he added.

The fund aims to provide education, health and humanitarian support given the state's inability to do so in wake of the crippling economic crisis gripping Lebanon.

Mikati also noted the establishment of the Saudi-French fund aimed at helping Lebanon. The fund was announced during a meeting between the Saudi and French foreign ministers earlier this year. The Kingdom has also donated 36 million dollars to Lebanon through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief).

The PM stressed his government is fully committed to preserving the best relations with Gulf countries, starting with Saudi Arabia, in order to mend relations and activate and bolster cooperation, while Lebanon commits to respecting all Arab and international resolutions.

"The government is fully aware that Lebanon should not be a platform to launch any political, military, security or media activities that could threaten its stability or destabilize its historic ties with the Gulf, leading with Saudi Arabia," he remarked.

Moreover, he said the government is "extremely" keen on taking all measures to prevent the smuggling of banned products, especially drugs, to the Gulf.

Mikati added that the government, through its concerned security agencies, was ready to combat drug smuggling, especially capatagon pills, to the Gulf.

Furthermore, he stated that his government was serious in combating money laundering, especially operations aimed at funding terrorist activities that destabilize the region and threaten the Gulf.

He stressed that his contacts with Kuwait are ongoing and he was closely monitoring French efforts aimed at mending Lebanese-Gulf relations.

Gulf countries, he continued, will continue to support Lebanon's stability and provide aid to its people.

It is not in Lebanon's interest to be transformed into a platform to send messages to Arab brothers and to meddle in other countries' affairs, he went on to say.

Lebanon is in no way prepared to live isolated from its Arab environment, he declared.

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