Lebanon’s PM intensifies efforts to implement the Saudi-French Statement

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati
Prime Minister Najib Mikati chairs a security and economic meeting at the government headquarters on Monday. (Photo: Dalati & Nohra)

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati has intensified his contacts to push for the implementation of the recent Saudi-French statement, despite his government’s “modest ambitions”, as described by well-informed sources who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat.

Some points mentioned in the statement “need wide consensus,” the sources underlined, pointing to the files pertaining to the decision of war and peace and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

The sources noted that Mikati is seeking to start dealing with files that his government is able to tackle, mainly combating the smuggling of illegal goods to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through Lebanon, and “putting an end to campaigns against Arab countries that harm Lebanon’s historical ties and best relations with Arab states.”

Mikati visited on Monday President Michel Aoun, and briefed him on the details of his communication with French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the two officials’ meeting in Jeddah.

Also on Monday, the prime minister chaired an expanded meeting with Lebanese officials to discuss border procedures and the crisis with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states.

“We are required to implement quick and practical measures to prove that the government is carrying out its duties in controlling the borders, the airport, the port and all crossings,” Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said following the meeting.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora praised the “joint statement issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and France.”

He emphasized that the statement “is of exceptional importance during these delicate circumstances, and resolves the controversy regarding many issues raised in the Arab region, especially with regard to Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and the Arab region as a whole.”

France and Saudi Arabia agreed on Saturday to do more to help the Lebanese population, work to solving a diplomatic row between Beirut and the Gulf states and jointly push to get the government there running.

Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi resigned on Friday to help end a diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia over comments he had made in October criticising Saudi Arabia’s role in the war in Yemen, which had prompted Riyadh to ban Lebanese imports

Asharq Al-Awsat