Prime Minister Najib Mikati stressed on Friday that Lebanon will continue to hold onto its policy of dissociating itself from the developments in Syria, urging businessmen in Paris to increase their investments in Lebanon.
He said during a two-day visit to the French capital that the crisis in Syria shouldn’t affect Lebanon.
“We can’t afford to be at loggerheads with any Arab country and it’s a decision we’ll abide by,” Miqati said.
Miqati headed to Paris on Thursday to meet with senior French officials with a packed agenda.
French authorities held an official reception for the premier at the “Invalides.”
He urged businessmen during a meeting with MEDEF international CEOs to increase their investments in Lebanon as it’s expected to become an oil and gas producer.
Miqati said on his twitter account that Lebanon’s “Special Economic Zone and the planned oil and gas exploration are one of our key economic attractions to foreign countries and CEOs.”
In January, the cabinet endorsed plans to implement legislation that will clear the way for offshore oil and gas exploration, downplaying the risk of conflict with Israel, despite a dispute over the maritime border.
However, the government is yet to name the regulatory authority which will manage the fund.
In August, parliament passed a law setting Lebanon's maritime boundary and Exclusive Economic Zone, as it has previously submitted to the United Nations a maritime map that conflicts significantly with one proposed by Israel.
Lebanon argues its map is in line with an armistice accord drawn up in 1949, an agreement which is not contested by Israel.
The disputed zone consists of about 854 square kilometers and suspected energy reserves there could generate billions of dollars.
Lebanon has been slow to exploit its maritime resources compared with other eastern Mediterranean countries. Israel, Cyprus and Turkey are all much more advanced in drilling for oil and gas.
Miqati urged the businessmen to reach a “common economic language” that will benefit everyone.
“You have the chance to invest in a country that depends on the market, respects the private sector, and applies the bank secrecy policy,” he said.