Lebanon’s Hariri, Putin Discuss Syrian Refugee File in Moscow

Lebanon’s Hariri, Putin Discuss Syrian Refugee File in Moscow

Thursday, 14 June, 2018 - 07:30
Lebanese PM-designate Saad Hariri meets Russian President Putin in Moscow. (Dalati & Nohra)
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat
Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri arrived in Moscow on Wednesday, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed latest developments in Lebanon and the region and bilateral relations, as well as Russia’s role in helping the country deal with the Syrian refugee crisis.

A statement issued by the premier’s office said that the meeting was attended by Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, Putin’s assistant for foreign affairs, Yury Ushakov, Minister of Economic Development, Maxime Oreshkin and Hariri’s advisor for Russian affairs, George Shaaban.

The Russian president congratulated Hariri on his re-appointment as prime minister and underlined the importance of maintaining the growing mutual trade.

“I would like to note right off that we have an upward trend in mutual trade: in 2017, trade increased by over 17 percent. We need to maintain this pace and not allow it to backslide – there were some alarming signs in the first quarter – we need to prevent a reversal of the trend that has developed over the past year,” Putin stated.

He also stressed the need to concentrate on the intergovernmental commission. “The commission has been successful so far. A large number of companies on both sides are interested in cooperation,” he said.

For his part, Hariri expressed his happiness with his presence in Moscow, describing the economic relations between Lebanon and Russia as being below the required level.

“We certainly have ongoing projects we need to work on in the future. But we have also noted progress, and with the new government, Lebanon intends to continue these efforts,” Hariri said.

“I hope that the World Cup in Russia will be a success. I also hope that we will have an opportunity to discuss the situation in the region in detail,” he added.

The two leaders discussed the issue of Syrian refugees. The prime minister-designate said in this regard: “We talked about the Syrian refugees and their return to Syria and Russia’s help in this regard, especially concerning Law number 10. It was extended for one year but must be further clarified.”

“The Syrian regime has to explain this issue better, so as not to suggest that the refugees in Lebanon are not entitled to return to Syria. The rights of the Syrian refugees in their country must be permanent,” he added.

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