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Mikati highlights ‘intensive diplomatic movement’ in Lebanon in bid to calm tension

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (L) meets with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati on January 10, 2024 in Beirut, during her regional tour amid continuing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (AFP)
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (L) meets with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati on January 10, 2024 in Beirut, during her regional tour amid continuing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (AFP)
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12 Jan 2024 09:01:48 GMT9
12 Jan 2024 09:01:48 GMT9
  • Leader speaks of country’s respect for all international resolutions, criticizes Israeli violations

Najia Houssari

BEIRUT: Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Friday that Lebanon had informed international envoys that “talking about calm in Lebanon alone is illogical.”

He told a Lebanese Cabinet meeting: “If stability in southern Lebanon and the border region specifically is required, then all international resolutions should be implemented, starting with the 1949 Armistice Agreement and all its provisions, without any changes.

“After that, we can start discussing stability arrangements in the south.”

Mikati spoke of “an intensive diplomatic movement in Lebanon, including the German foreign minister’s visit two days ago.”

He added: “The current situation is better than it was two months ago in terms of understanding the Lebanese perspective, which I also conveyed to US envoy Amos Hochstein, including the acknowledgment of international decisions dating back to 1949 up to Resolution 1701.

“Israel has not implemented all these international decisions, while we continue to affirm our compliance with international legitimacy, and our ministerial statement emphasized respect for all international resolutions.”

Hochstein visited Beirut on Thursday and stressed the necessity of “working on calming the situation in southern Lebanon, even if it is impossible to reach a final solution in the meantime, so things do not worsen.”

Mikati demanded an “immediate ceasefire in Gaza, parallel to a serious ceasefire in Lebanon.”

He added: “We refuse to have our brothers subjected to genocide and destruction.”

Mikati hailed South Africa’s initiative in filing a lawsuit against Israel at the International Court of Justice for “committing genocide in Gaza.”

He said: “We anticipate a fair and prompt judgment that reflects respect for values and human rights, particularly international humanitarian law.

“Regardless of the International Court’s decision, what matters is that there are people who still demand the implementation of international legitimacy and international law.”

Commenting on this week’s cyberattack at Beirut Airport, Mikati called on ministers to “ensure the safety of the ministries’ computer systems and review their protection methods.”

Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said in a statement that “the breach was likely external.” Security bodies are still investigating the incident.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs David Lammy has met several Lebanese officials to discuss possible solutions to help contain the escalating violence in the region.

He said in a statement: “I come with a simple message: We do not want to see escalation and violence in Gaza spreading, and we look forward to a political solution to what is happening, the implementation of UN Resolution 1701, and calm instead of escalation.”

He said that his trip came on the heels of Hochstein’s visit, and added: “I have great hope to witness a solution to this crisis and a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, ending the bloodshed occurring there.

“We also hope for calm to be restored in this important part of the East. This is the message I have come to deliver.”

Lammy’s visit included a meeting with the Lebanese Armed Forces Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun.

Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek, the head of Iran-backed Hezbollah’s Judicial Council, called Hockstein’s mission to Lebanon a “fruitless move, as long as Gaza is still under fire.”

Yazbek warned Israel that its threats “will meet a response on the battlefield.”

He added: “Its (Israel’s) attacks on civilians in Lebanon and the targeting of the Civil Defense on Thursday, which led to the martyrdom of two of its members, were immediately met in Kiryat Shmona and other sites.

“This response sends a firm message that any escalation by the enemy will be met with even greater response.”

Yazbek also condemned attacks by US and British forces on Yemen.

He said: “No matter how the Americans justify them (the attacks) as defending their forces, these brutal attacks will not weaken the determination of Yemen’s people, army and leadership.”

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