Najib Mikati, designated Lebanese prime minister, has confirmed that he is seeking to form a charter government that expresses all segments of Lebanese society.
In his first television interview after being re-appointed to form the government today, Mikati told the “Special Talk” program via “Al-Araby” that the next government’s priorities will be to meet the economic challenges facing the country faces, to address, from negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, and the control of the transfer of funds abroad, or what is known as “Capital Control”, in addition to the demarcation of maritime borders with Israel and the extraction of oil from the eastern Mediterranean.
He stressed that Lebanon “does not want war, and all we want is to extract gas from the eastern Mediterranean.”
The Lebanese businessman received the votes of 54 out of 128 delegates, including Hezbollah, in the parliamentary consultations held by President Michel Aoun to appoint a new prime minister after the parliamentary elections that took place last May.
Mikati pointed out that the sectarian substance was not balanced during his mandate consultations today, and stressed that he would only accept that his government is a charter.
He stressed that the next government should be a government of action in the light of time constraints, with the presidential election approaching and with the end of President Michel Aoun’s term in office.
He stressed that until a new government is formed, the emerging government will continue to run its affairs, and that does not mean that it does not address basic national issues.
Parliamentary meetings begin Monday
While Lebanon is seeking international funding to overcome the economic collapse it is experiencing, Mikati has revealed that he will begin parliamentary sessions from next Monday to approve the correct files submitted to Parliament for approval by the current government. , of which the agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
He stressed the need to take proactive decisions to complete the agreement, including monitoring the transfer of funds abroad or what is known as “capital controls”, the lifting of banking secrecy to an amount of depositors to guarantee money’s money, and determining the exchange rate at which the state will collect taxes.
“Reform does not take place overnight.”
He stressed that political reform could not take place overnight, and that the state did not have the financial resources to adjust public sector wages in the face of rising prices and the collapse of the value of the local currency against the dollars.
But he stressed that his government would work to grant the Lebanese employee a salary that guarantees him a decent living, in order to strike a balance between the inflation rate and the salaries of employees.
On the issue of reforms, he pointed out that the current government has appointed all the necessary bodies to implement anti-corruption laws, as some of these laws are in force, and some of them need time to be implemented.
As for the relationship with the other Lebanese components, the designated Prime Minister confirmed that he is open to all Lebanese parties, sects and parties without any reservations, but at the same time he was surprised by the position of head of the “Free Patriotic”. Movement ”, MP Gebran Bassil, takes into account that the latter creates a problem ahead of its time, despite the fact that it does not exist any contact or meeting between the two parties.
Demarcation of the border
On the file demarcation of the border with Israel, Mikati revealed that President Michel Aoun, in agreement with him and the speaker of parliament, Nabih Berri, submitted an offer to the American mediator Amos Hochstein, who described Mikati as “very acceptable”, and pointed out that “Hezbollah” “supports the Lebanese Government’s decision to adopt this framework, and that it was not opposed to the proposal submitted to the US Mediator.
Mikati explained that “we can not go back on what we offered because we need to start exploring oil and gas and exploiting it as soon as possible,” noting that Lebanon needs US mediation that will lead to the achievement. of a framework agreement with the United Nations.
He said: “We do not want war, nor violence or instability in the region, and all we want is gas extraction.”
Regarding the export of gas from Egypt to Lebanon, Mikati confirmed that Cairo had confirmed from the outset that it would not do the case unless it obtained prior financing, and the financing was linked to the agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
The pursuit of Hassan Merhi and Hussein Oneissi
Referring to the recent decision of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which locked up two members of Hezbollah in the assassination case of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Mikati said: “I have notified the Minister of Justice of the prosecution of Hassan Merhi. and Hussein Oneissi as soon as Lebanon is informed of the court’s decision. ”
He reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the judicial protocol needed to implement the International Tribunal’s decision.
In response to a question about his recent statements on Syrian refugees, the designated Prime Minister stressed that his government’s position is a “sovereign position”, but Lebanon is now in crisis, and therefore we are “forced to take measures” in this regard “. . “
He pointed out that the current Syrian presence in Lebanon could lead to a demographic change in the country, and decisions must be made in this context that take into account international laws.
Seeing that the amnesty decisions issued in Syria are helping the return of Syrian refugees to their homes, Mikati revealed that Lebanon could be forced to deport any Syrian refugee who does not have a work permit or official residence, as it does not is not possible. to wait until the end of the crisis to return the refugees. ”
Regarding the meeting scheduled for next week at the residence of Lebanese Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Al-Bukhari, Mikati stressed that what Saudi Arabia is doing “serves the interests of Lebanon and the Sunnis, and it makes no Sunnis “party against another.”