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PARIS, March 05, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the international community to support Lebanese government institutions that deal with refugees.
“Lebanon is facing serious challenges created by a huge influx of refugees from neighbouring Syria that has been torn by a bloody internal armed conflict. Lebanon is experiencing tremendous pressure on its budget and law enforcement system, social sphere and economy, as well as obvious demographic and political risks,” he said at the second meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon, held in Paris on Wednesday, March 5.
In his opinion, all this necessitates “a wide range of assistance measures from the international community.” “We believe that these should include not only promises of donor aid, which are often realised only in part, but mainly real support to the Lebanese government and private institutions that deal directly with the accommodation of refugees in the country, and implementation of joint business and investment projects aimed at strengthening the Lebanese economy and reducing unemployment,” Lavrov said.
He also urged the international community to eradicate terrorism in Lebanon and the region as a whole. “We strongly condemn attempts to provoke an outbreak of tension through a series of terrorist acts carried out in recent months. We call on the members of the international community to pool efforts in order to raise an effective barrier on the way of those who are trying to kindle inter-confessional strife, pernicious for the region, through a series of bloody attacks in Lebanon and other Middle East countries,” the minister said.
The situation “requires Lebanese society and its political forces to consolidate on the basis of the positive potential that was created earlier through national dialogue, including the experience of settling previous conflicts,” he said.
Lavrov underscored the need to continue the search for ways to resolve political disagreements within the country, “including the drafting of the government programme, its approval by the parliament and resolution of issues concerning the upcoming presidential elections.”
He stressed “the need to step up efforts aimed at achieving a peaceful settlement in Syria, which will create conditions for the return of refugees to their homes.”
“Russia sees no alternative to further inter-Syrian talks in Geneva,” he added.
The minister said that all problems in Lebanon should be solved by its people without external interference.
“Assisting the people of Lebanon in preserving and strengthening internal stability is a task of paramount importance. All problems on the national agenda must be addressed by the Lebanese themselves in accordance with law, with the unconditional respect for the current political and inter-confessional balance, and without external interference,” he said.
“Smooth operation of the entire executive branch in the country, including the president and cabinet of ministers, in accordance with the spirit and letter of the constitution is a guarantee of successful development of Lebanon in the current complex situation,” Lavrov said.
He said Russia would continue military-technical cooperation with Lebanon in order to strengthen its armed forces. “We note the role of the Lebanese army and law enforcement agencies as well as UNIFIL [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] in maintaining stability in the country. We are ready to continue military-technical cooperation with Lebanon in the interests of strengthening its armed forces and security services,” the minister said.
He called for compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 and for an end to Israel’s intrusions into Lebanon’s airspace.