Mikati says 'border stability' is Lebanon's priority


Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati stressed Monday that the government's priority is to maintain security in south Lebanon, a day after Hezbollah and Israel exchanged fire.

In an attack it said had been carried out "in solidarity" with Hamas, which launched a surprise assault on Israel the day before, Hezbollah fired Sunday on Israeli positions in the contested Shebaa Farms border area.

Israel said it retaliated and warned Hezbollah against getting involved in the fight on its southern flank with Hamas.

The Shebaa Farms had been captured by Israel during the 1967 Mideast War and are claimed by Lebanon.

In a statement, Mikati said that "brotherly countries are keen on keeping Lebanon safe from the repercussions of the explosive situation in the Palestinian territories," adding that stability and calm are the government's priorities.

Another priority is the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Lebanese territories, Mikati said.

A nightmare scenario for Israel would be a multi-front war also involving Hezbollah activity on its northern border and analysts have questioned whether Hezbollah will enter the fray.

On Monday, the Kremlin said there was a "high risk" of a third party entering the conflict between Israel and Hamas, after the U.S. moved warships closer to its ally Israel.

Caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib had told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that Hezbollah has promised the Lebanese government that it will not intervene in the Hamas-Israel war.

More than two days after Hamas launched an unprecedented incursion from Gaza, caughting Israel's vaunted military and intelligence apparatus completely off guard, Mikati dubbed the operation "an inevitable consequence of the Israeli approach against the Palestinian people and their rightful demands."

"The solution to this open conflict begins with the international community assuming its responsibilities in pressuring Israel to go back to peace options," Mikati said.

Comments 1
Missing arturo 09 October 2023, 17:37

Mikati's statements are inconsistent with Lebanon's actions -- Lebanon fired rockets into Israel and sent a team to infiltrate.