Cabinet committed to hold elections on time: Mikati

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 The Cabinet is committed to running the 2013 parliamentary elections on time, Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Monday.

“The government is committed to holding the parliamentary elections on time, out of respect to democracy and the principle of power rotation,” Mikati said following a meeting with his French counterpart Jean Marc Ayrault in Paris, according to a statement from his press office.

Mikati, who is in the French capital for a three-day official visit, said three factors govern Lebanon’s stability: keeping the situation in the southern city of Sidon calm; maintaining the policy of disassociation from the Syrian crisis, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon probing the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a car explosion in Beirut.

“The situation in the south, the policy of dissociation from Syrian crisis, and STL will ensure Lebanon’s stability,” said the prime minister.

According to the statement, Ayrault hailed Mikati’s efforts to protect Lebanon and keep it away from danger and reiterated support for the country’s institutions.

Ayrault renewed his country’s commitment to stability in south Lebanon via the United Nations Interim forces in Lebanon, asking at the same time for the safety of French soldiers operating within the international mission, the statement said.

Mikati, who arrived in Paris Sunday accompanied by a number of ministers, is also scheduled to hold talks with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace Wednesday regarding the political crisis in Lebanon and how to protect the country from the reverberations of the 20-month-old conflict in Syria.

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