Lebanese envoy responds to mayor’s Beirut comment

Lebanese Ambassador in Athens Gebran Michel Soufan has labeled as ?irrelevant? last week?s comment by Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis that the Greek capital risked resembling ?Beirut in the 1970s? if action was not taken to tackle crime.

In a letter to Kaminis, Soufan said he was confident the mayor?s comment was a ?slip of the tongue? but added: ?Rather than depicting Lebanon?s capital as a stereotype of fear, it would have been appropriate to focus on how Beirut overcame unrest, despite the complications of the Middle East, through the determination of its people and their strong belief in the rule of law and the deeply rooted values.?

The ambassador added that Lebanon ?maintained a bright image in the region and still has vivid patterns to offer to the world, not least on coping with a severe economic crisis and registering an average GDP growth rate of 8 percent in 2009 and 2010.?

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