Le­banese am­bas­sador re­sponds

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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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