Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Lebanese Prime Minister-Designate Najib Mikati, who is today preparing to form a new Lebanese government, told Asharq Al-Awsat that there is no benefit from Lebanese division. He stressed that he is a “candidate for harmony, and that so long as the goal is the same, we will not disagree on the means [of achieving this].” He also denied that there was any “terms or conditions” imposed upon his nomination.
Prime Minister-Designate Najib Mikati, who previously served as prime minister of a caretaker government from April to July 2005, stressed that “I have always called for reconciliation and worked to unite the Lebanese ranks.” He also stressed that “there is no benefit from division; this will not benefit the country, or the sects…we want to unite, we will not disagree with one another so long as calm is the objective.”
Prime Minister-Designate Mikati refused to acknowledge that he was a Hezbollah or a March 8 Alliance candidate, saying that he considered such designations as being inappropriate. He said “they [Hezbollah] helped me, and remembered me, and called on me, but I nominated myself.” He added “in 2005, it was said that I was friends with [Syrian] President Bashar al-Assad, and that I am not neutral, but when I became prime minister I worked conscientiously and morally in the interests of Lebanon.”
He added that his major objective now is to “achieve calm internally, and preserve Lebanon’s international and regional relations, especially with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Syria.”
Mikati stressed that no “terms or conditions” had been imposed upon him by the opposition with regards to their acceptance of his nomination, stressing that he had not been tasked with putting an end to the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon. He also stressed that “all the problems can be solved by dialogue from within the [state] institutions, including [the problems with regards to] the constitution.” Mikati promised that “nobody will take possession of the decision-making process.”
In response to the campaign launched against him, sources close to Mikati told Asharq Al-Awsat that he is coming to the post of prime minister under the slogan of partnership, and that he wants “a government for all of Lebanon.” The sources also expressed surprise about the “fears that have been expressed with regards to his [Mikati’s] nomination and the calling to account of his intentions.” The source, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, stressed that Mikati’s experience in power in 2005 “is the best response to what is being said, and the actions that he takes [after he comes into power] are what must be taken into account.”
The source added that “we will not be dragged into marginal arguments, and we will not enter into the logic of mistrust and accusing others of betrayal despite the current political and media insanity.” The source also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “we are surprised by this campaign, and particularly that it is being launched by those who would be expected to have a better memory than others with regards to Mikati’s characteristics.”
The source also questioned the timing of this campaign against Mikati, particularly as things are moving towards a solution, calling on everybody to look at Mikati’s nomination as being “an opportunity for rescue in light of the ongoing troubles.”