Lebanon shielding itself from Syrian war

Jan. 24, 2013 at 11:48 AM

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said that, despite prior support for Damascus, he was keen to keep his country isolated from the Syrian war.

Mikati is from the March 8 movement, a political alliance that's been in favor of the Syrian government. He told al-Arabiya on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that he was trying to isolate his country from the Syrian civil war, however.

"Lebanon reaffirms its disassociation policy on both the political and security levels in order to maintain stability and avoid related consequences and risks," he was quoted as saying.

Syrian influence dominated Lebanese political affairs before the Cedar Revolution in 2005 forced Damascus to pull back. Since war broke out in Syria in early 2011, Lebanon's northern border regions have witnessed fighting between pro- and anti-Syrian groups.

Mikati said it's been two years since he last spoke with Syrian President Bashar Assad. It wasn't in Beirut's interest, he said, to interfere in the internal affairs of neighboring countries.

"Especially (considering) that we as Lebanese always been complaining about regional and international interference in our affairs," he said.

Beirut in the past has complaints to the United Nations about Israeli violations of its southern shared border.

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