Sleiman urges youth not to be drawn into conflicts

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President Michel Sleiman urged Lebanon’s youth Saturday to refrain from engaging in forms of “military ventures,” adding that the state should involve them more in political life.

“Do not involve yourselves in security and military ventures inside Lebanon or outside for goals that have not been agreed to nationally and do not comprise your sovereignty and national principles,” Sleiman said.

His remarks came during an event to release “the Youth political document in Lebanon” at Baabda Palace.

During the event, which was attended by U.N. official Robert Watkins, Sports and Youth Minister Omar Karami and other officials, Sleiman also called on the youth to act as watchdogs and to hold accountable those that are corrupt in the state and society.

He also urged the youth not to repeat the mistakes of previous generations “who became the fuel of wars and victims of compromises.”

The president also called on Lebanese leaders to engage in Dialogue in order to resolve crises in the country.

“We should strengthen our institutions to return to Dialogue instead of sitting in the waiting room or expect some kind of victory for one axis over the other,” he said.

“The biggest crime that can be committed at the expense of the human being in Lebanon is to turn inward and remain distant from cultural and political dialogue,” Sleiman added.

He also spoke about the deteriorating socioeconomic conditions in the country, citing a youth’s document which estimates the unemployment rate among young people in Lebanon to be around 66 percent.

“It is the state’s duty to limit rising unemployment rates … but politicians should cooperate in order to lessen tensions and distance Lebanon from crises,” the president said.

He attributed the lack of interest in bettering the economic conditions to political affiliations common in the country.

“One of the main reasons for the reality today is that the Lebanese are divided as they follow slogans of their leaders without taking into consideration the facts of the socioeconomic crisis,” he said.

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