US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, held a meeting during the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, in the presence of Caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdallah Bou Habib, Lebanon’s permanent representative to the United Nations Ambassador, Amal Mudallali, PM Mikati’s Advisor, Ambassador Boutros Asaker, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, and US mediator, Amos Hochstein.
In the wake of the meeting, Blinken described his meeting with Mikati as “fruitful”.
“We’ve discussed the need to hold timely presidential elections, and the need to implement reforms to support the Lebanese people,” Blinken said, asserting that the US shall pursue efforts, alongside the Lebanese nation, to achieve peace and prosperity.
In turn, Premier Mikati said that the meeting took stock of a number of issues, with special emphasis on holding presidential elections on time.
“Discussions touched on the Syrian refugee dossier, the impending agreement with the International Monetary Fund, as well as the electricity and educational dossiers now that we are beginning a new scholastic year,” Mikati said, disclosing that the maritime border demarcation dossier is witnessing “great progress”.
Prior to their meeting, US Secretary, Antony J. Blinken, and Caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, delivered the following words:
Secretary Blinken said: “Well, good evening, everyone. And Prime Minister, very good to see you. Thank you for taking the time to spend some time this evening. We are working very closely in support of Lebanon in a number of ways, particularly working through the incredibly challenging economic issues, and very much supportive of Lebanon moving forward in dealing with these challenges, including with the IMF.
At the same time, I think it’s quite extraordinary that we see even as Lebanon is dealing with these acute challenges the incredible generosity of the country, particularly in giving refuge to so many people from conflict, I think the highest number of refugees per capita of any country in the world – something we greatly admire and also are trying to find ways to help you continue to support.
So there is lots to talk about. We have many challenges in the region more broadly, but I am grateful, Prime Minister, for the time this evening and look forward to a good conversation. Welcome.”
Prime Minister Mikati said: “Good evening. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, for to give us this opportunity tonight to talk about our problems and to give me this opportunity also to thank the – your administration for all your help and assistance for Lebanon. I know what you are doing directly and indirectly – directly through USAID, through your embassy in Beirut, and all the help done to Lebanon. And indirectly I know that the Lebanese army is in your mind and you are giving great help to the Lebanese army. And the generous, let’s say, donation given by Qatar and other countries that we are looking for (inaudible) for this. So I am, let’s say, delighted to have this meeting and we have certain points to have to raise together, if you don’t mind.”
Source: National News Agency