President Michel Aoun and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed on the importance of continuing to strengthen cooperation between Lebanon and France and the commitment to consolidate Lebanese-French relations, the National News Agency reported on Monday.
Aoun stressed that Lebanon is proceeding with structural reforms due to national considerations not linked to any other agreement, because one of the titles of his presidential term is reforms in the financial and economic systems. For his part, Macron reiterated his country's commitment to support Lebanon, promising to accept the invitation of Aoun to visit Lebanon in 2020 to mark the centennial of Greater Lebanon, said NNA.
The positions of the two men came during their meeting held at 6:00 pm (New York time) at the French Pavilion at the United Nations, it added.
The meeting was attended by Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Jebran Bassil, Minister of State for Presidency Affairs Salim Jreissati, Head of Lebanon's Permanent Mission to the UN Ambassador Amal Medalli, Lebanese Ambassador to Washington Gabi Issa and Presidential Advisor Mireille Aoun al-Hashem.
On the French side, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attended the meeting along with diplomatic adviser Emmanuel Boone, chief of staff of French President Admiral Bernard Rogel, and Presidential Advisor Alice Ruffo, head of Middle East affairs at the French Foreign Ministry, Christophe Farno.
Sources close to Lebanon’s delegation said the meeting addressed issues of importance for both sides, most notably focusing on the reactivation of CEDRE conference decisions.
Aoun and Macron also discussed the issue of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the obstacles that prevent them from returning to their country, said NNA.
Macron expressed his country's understanding of the Lebanese position and the damage inflicted on the Lebanese economy because of the refugees’ presence, hoping that progress will be made in solving the Syrian crisis politically through the formation of the Constitutional Committee.
NNA said that Aoun and Macron were in full agreement on the need to activate CEDRE and strengthen bilateral relations. Macron reiterated what has already been announced in terms of his country's commitment to support Lebanon in all fields, promising to meet Aoun's invitation to visit to Lebanon in 2020 to mark the centenary Greater Lebanon.
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