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Lebanon’s FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: We are the Most Affected and Least Influential in the Region

Lebanon’s FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: We are the Most Affected and Least Influential in the Region

Monday, 9 March, 2020 - 10:00
Lebanese Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti.
Beirut – Hanan Merhej

Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti stressed that Lebanon would continue to adhere to the policy of dissociation from regional developments, adding that the country was going through a very delicate situation.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Hitti said: “We are walking on a tightrope because of Lebanon’s geopolitical situation.”

“The priority today is to resort to the Arabs and strengthen relations with any brotherly Arab country,” he noted, praising the past support provided by a number of them, mainly Saudi Arabia.

Hitti denied rumors that some Arab countries have refused to receive Lebanese officials, saying: “No country has announced its unwillingness to receive officials and we look forward to making these visits.”

On the economic situation, the minister said: “We, as a government, have a responsibility to formulate an integrated economic program based on structural reforms... We are already working towards this end, and we are asking for support from our brothers and friends, because Lebanon’s stability is also vital for Arab and international strategic interests.”

In the same context, he underlined that the current government would represent a fresh and comprehensive beginning because “economy interacts with politics, and vice versa.”

“Lebanon has always been the most affected and the least influential in its surroundings, so it is in our interest that relations be based on respect of international legitimacy and international law,” he remarked.

Hitti strongly refused to describe the new cabinet as “a crisis management government,” saying: “This crisis cannot be managed, but rather needs to be addressed, with its causes and catastrophic implications.”

He reaffirmed that this government was not responsible for the economic and financial situation, pointing out that its primary work revolved around the establishment of a plan to address the collapse through an integrated economic program.

The FM called on Arab countries and the International Support Group for Lebanon to “help the government implement this program, which will constitute a quantum leap.”

Asked about the US peace plan, known as the “deal of the century”, Hitti renewed Lebanon’s opposition of any form of settlement of Palestinians on its soil.

“We are committed to the Arab peace initiative launched by the Arab Summit in Beirut, which reflects a comprehensive vision to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region.”

“From a realistic perspective, the ‘deal of the century’ will further aggravate the situation… and every delay in finding a solution based on the relevant international resolutions will benefit parties seeking chaos in the region,” Hitti warned.

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