Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Australia’s Governor Sir Peter Cosgrove agreed on the need to bolster Lebanese-Australian relations at various levels and develop mechanisms of cooperation between the two countries to serve common interests.
In a joint press conference with his Australian counterpart at the Presidential Palace in Baabda on Monday, Aoun underlined the importance of unifying international efforts to combat terrorism, finding a political solution to the Syria crisis and resolving the issue of Syrian refugees.
He also called on the international community to support Lebanon to become a UN-acknowledged international center for dialogue of religions, civilizations and races, stressing the necessity to implement UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 1701, which calls for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all the occupied territories.
“We focused on the need to reach political solutions to the Syrian crisis as well as on the means to find an immediate solution to the Syrian refugees’ issue that contributes to their return to the safe areas,” the Lebanese president said.
“I informed [Cosgrove] of Lebanon’s demand to become an international center accredited by the United Nations for the dialogue of religions and civilizations,” he added, noting that he asked Australia’s governor to support the country in defending its legitimate rights at international forums, “without ignoring the obligation of implementing the international resolutions, including resolution 1701.”
For his part, Sir Cosgrove stressed the deep-rooted relations between the two countries, which he said were based on broad social ties.
He also expressed his country’s commitment to consolidate cooperation with Lebanon, especially trade and investment relations.
He noted that his country “follows with interest what is happening in the Middle East in general, and in Lebanon in particular, and welcomes the victory achieved by the Lebanese Army in liberating the territories from terrorist organizations.”
He stressed in this regard “Australia’s readiness to support Lebanon to face the repercussions of the Syrian displacement” pointing to “financial allocations by his country to this end.”