European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Thursday that the prolonged political crisis can only further weaken Lebanon which cannot afford to wait for the region to solve its problems before it addresses this issue.
“On 25 May 2016 Lebanon enters its third year without a President. The sovereignty, stability, territorial integrity and independence of Lebanon are important for the European Union. Lebanon remains an example of freedom, diversity and tolerance for the region, but the prolonged political crisis can only further weaken the country and its institutions in facing its many challenges. Lebanon cannot afford to wait for the region to solve its problems before it addresses this issue,” said Mogherini.
“The EU again urges Lebanese political forces and all stakeholders to put partisan and individual interests aside and find a viable compromise to elect a President swiftly,” she urged.
“The EU supports the efforts deployed by the Lebanese government under difficult circumstances to ensure that issues of dissent do not hinder completely the functioning of Lebanese Institutions, and do not compromise the delivery of international assistance,” she added.
The EU representative “commended the Lebanese Armed Forces' work for the safety and security of the country. The National Dialogue and other mediation efforts are laudable initiatives to ensure communication between political forces and prevent a deterioration of the political climate.”
On the municipal and by-elections she said that the EU welcomes this step and “calls on all parties to create the conditions for the holding of Parliamentary elections.”
The issue of Syrian refugees she said: “The EU is fully aware of the additional challenges that the refugee crisis poses for the stability of Lebanon. The EU commends the Lebanese people for their efforts to host refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria, and stresses the importance of respect by all parties of the right to safe and voluntary return of refugees displaced from Syria.”
“The EU reiterates its commitment to the partnership with Lebanon, and reaffirms the need to work together to respond to common challenges on the basis of our common values, including human rights, democracy, and respect for diversity,” she concluded.
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