Speaker Nabih Berri on Thursday stressed to visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius that “Lebanon is fulfilling its humanitarian duties towards the Syrian refugees and the Lebanese and Syrian peoples are like one people.”
“The abduction of the 11 Lebanese is the reason behind this antipathy, but the two peoples will remain brothers under all circumstances,” Berri added.
“The recent abduction of another Lebanese from the al-Muqdad family in Damascus – while Lebanon was awaiting the release of the 11 abductees – is what stirred this uproar and further aggravated the situations,” the house speaker went on to say.
Earlier on Thursday, Fabius arrived in Beirut aboard a private jet and announced from the airport that his talks with the Lebanese officials will focus on “military resistance” in Syria and the political transition of power.
Berri asked the French minister to “mediate with the influential parties to secure the release of all the Lebanese abductees.”
The two men stressed the need to “find a solution to the crisis in Syria that would preserve the country’s unity, independence and sovereignty,” state-run National News Agency reported.
Fabius for his part stressed “France’s keenness on the solid relation with Lebanon and its unity and stability,” handing Speaker Berri an official invitation to visit France.
The French minister also met with Prime Minister Najib Miqati and discussed with him “the developments in Lebanon and the Middle East and the policy adopted by the Lebanese government to protect Lebanon from the repercussions of the ongoing events in the region,” according to a statement issued by Miqati’s office.
Following talks with Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, Fabius hoped “the events in the region will negatively affect Lebanon.” He also hoped dialogue will be maintained among the Lebanese society’s components.
“Lebanon has witnessed major problems due to the crisis in Syria and our presence here is also to express France’s commitment to Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence during the current circumstances,” Fabius added.
The talks with Lebanese officials are also supposed to tackle the case of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and their current humanitarian conditions.
Fabius arrived in Lebanon from Jordan where he called for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the need for a “swift political transition in Syria.”
He had arrived in Jordan on Wednesday on a three-day tour of the region that includes Lebanon and Turkey.
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