Caretaker Lebanese PM calls for return to National Dialogue as Syria crisis spillsover
Political leaders gather at the National Dialogue table at Baabda Palace last year. Image courtesy of The Daily Star.
“I urge President Michel Sleiman, the symbol of the country’s unity, to call for dialogue where every party will attend without preconditions and will be willing to make concessions for the sake of the homeland,” Mikati said in a nationally televised speech from the Grand Serail in Beirut.
He said he would personally initiate separate meetings with the various political parties “in order to come out with tangible results that will protect and strengthen the nation.”
“We will be meeting with all the forces; we will listen to their concerns and we will encourage the idea of granting reciprocal concessions in the best interest of Lebanon,” Mikati added.
In a direct reference to the war in neighboring Syria, Mikati stressed that Lebanon must commit to its policy of disassociation and urged parties not to act as proxies for foreign interests.
He warned against involvement in the “merciless” game of nations, which he said would inevitably lead to a devastating conflict.
“We must not be pawns of any external side,” Mikati said in his speech. “No one will stand by our side if we do not do our duty to preserve the nation and its unity.”
Two years into the Syria conflict, Mikati recalled warning Lebanese about a possible spillover of the Syria war into Lebanon.
“Today you and I feel that stability has been shaken to a large extent and that the danger has penetrated into [Lebanon],” he said.
Mikati, however, reassured the public that the situation could still be resolved through dialogue, rebuilding bridges, bolstering the disassociation policy and hastening the formation of a new Cabinet.
The caretaker premier warned that the political stalemate and heated disputes would only harm Lebanon and its institutions.
“This is a critical phase and no matter how much we have disagreed on our priorities, there should be no interest above the priority of our unity, by offering mutual concessions, because compromising for the sake of the nation is a noble achievement,” Mikati said.