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Lebanese Officials, Turkish FM Discuss Return of Syrian Refugees

Lebanese Officials, Turkish FM Discuss Return of Syrian Refugees

Saturday, 24 August, 2019 - 06:00
The Lebanese and Turkish foreign ministers during their meeting on Friday. Dalati and Nohra photo
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat

Meetings held between top Lebanese officials and visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu have mainly focused on the Syrian refugee crisis.

Cavusoglu met on Friday with President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil with whom he held a joint press conference.

He also met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Interior Minister Raya al-Hassan and other officials.

“We are committed to the dignified return of refugees,” Aoun said after the talks with Cavusoglu, adding that refugees who had already returned from Lebanon “have not faced harassment” in their home country.

The Turkish FM told Aoun that Ankara will vote in favor of the “Human Academy for Encounter and Dialogue,” a project launched by Aoun, at the United Nations on September 13.

Discussions between the Lebanese officials and Cavusoglu also focused on bilateral relations, the regional situation, the war in Syria and the Palestinian cause.

In his joint press conference with Bassil, the Turkish foreign minister said that his country was interested in bolstering the Lebanese economy and would continue to support it.

Lebanon’s stability and growth is very important for Turkey and for the region, Cavusoglu added.

He rejected Israeli violations of Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian sovereignty, saying he “supports all efforts to face Israeli aggression.”

He also expressed support to a political solution to Syria’s war, and called for international cooperation to address the refugee crisis.

As for Bassil, he said Lebanon and Turkey faced similar challenges in handling the Syrian refugee crisis.

“We support a political solution in Syria and it is the right of the Syrian people to determine their fate,” Bassil said, though he stressed that the return of the displaced should not be linked to a political solution to the war in the neighboring country.

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