Francis referred to a Biblical passage in which Jesus takes the hand of a young girl on her deathbed and says “Get up!”
“May God take Lebanon by the hand and tell it: ‘Get up!’” the Vatican quoted Francis as saying.
In Mikati’s meeting with the Vatican secretary of state, the talks concerned the hope that “justice, necessary reforms and the support of the international community help to resolve the problems,” a Vatican statement said.
Mikati’s government, which was formed on Sept. 10, has been paralyzed for weeks — unable to meet because of deep divisions over the investigation into the port blast and a diplomatic dispute with the Gulf Arab states.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese pound has continued to slide, hitting new lows this week amid staggering inflation and soaring poverty. Lebanon’s spiraling financial crisis started in late 2019 and has rapidly worsened, compounded by the port blast and pandemic.
According to Mikati’s office, the pope “expressed his concern about the social situation in Lebanon and the economic conditions under which the Lebanese are living." The office said Francis praised Miktati's willingness and courage to do the job despite knowing of the problems.
Mikati's office said the pope told him the Vatican would “make efforts to support Lebanon in international forums" and stressed the need for Lebanon to maintain good relations with Arab neighbors and the international community.
Mikati’s government hasn't met since mid-October after Hezbollah-backed ministers called for the removal of the lead investigator into the blast and threatened to boycott Cabinet meetings until their demands are met, leading to the current paralysis.
Zeina Karam contributed to this report from Beirut.