Lebanon on verge of chaos following twin bombings Tuesday

Published November 20th, 2013 - 07:01 GMT
People gather near the site of the bombing Tuesday (Ahmad Omar/AP)
People gather near the site of the bombing Tuesday (Ahmad Omar/AP)

President Michel Suleiman reiterated late Tuesday that Lebanese authorities were working on keeping the country at a distance from the region's turmoil, hours after suicide bombers struck the Iranian embassy in Beirut.

“We in Lebanon work through the Baabda Declaration to distance Lebanon from the conflicts, the tension and their negative repercussions,” Suleiman said in his speech at the third Arab-African summit held in Kuwait.

However, Tuesday's suicide bombings appeared to be another strike in the proxy battles that have played out in the region and which have intensified with the civil war in Syria.

Hezbullah members are also fighting alongside troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad despite calls by its rivals in the March 14 alliance to withdraw from the neighboring country.

“We seek with the UN, the international community and the Gulf Cooperation Countries to resolve the economic losses that Lebanon has suffered, and which the World Bank has estimated at 7.5 billion dollars,” Suleiman said.

He also said that work is underway to find quick solutions to the crisis of Syrian refugees whose numbers are soaring at a very fast rate.

He warned that the crisis was “endangering the Lebanese entity” in addition to “the country's economy and the social and security conditions in it.”

“There would be no investment without stability and no stability or moderation without justice,” he said, urging the international community to achieve such a justice.

He reiterated that Lebanon would continue to ask for a comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on international resolutions, the Madrid process and the Arab peace initiative adopted in Beirut in 2002.

Suleiman met on the sidelines of the summit with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, Egypt's Interim president Adly Mansour and UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson who stressed that Ban Ki-Moon was keen on helping Lebanon's economy.

Eliasson told Suleiman that Ban has expressed satisfaction with the efforts exerted by Lebanese authorities to preserve unity and security.

Also on the sidelines of the summit, the Lebanese president met with Alan Duncan, UK's Minister of State for International Development, who reiterated his country's support for Lebanon.

He said London intends to provide assistance to help Lebanon confront the burden of Syrian refugees.

Suleiman cut his visit to Kuwait short and returned to Beirut along with first Lady Wafaa on Tuesday night.

He was expected to read the summit's closing statement but he decided to return to Lebanon after the bombings that struck the Iranian embassy in the Bir Hassan neighborhood of Beirut's southern suburbs.

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