BEIRUT: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop met with top Lebanese officials Tuesday, after announcing her country’s additional assistance of $20 million to be allocated to the initiative “No Lost Generation” to support Syrian refugee children.
During her first official visit to Lebanon, Bishop met with President Michel Sleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.
The purpose of the visit was to strengthen bilateral relations and emphasize Australia’s support for Lebanese sovereignty, Bishop said at a joint news briefing after her meeting with Bassil.
“We also tackled the first-time illegal entry attempt carried out by 62 Lebanese into the Australian territory,” Bassil said.
“Australia refused to receive them and this is its natural right. Those people were placed temporarily on an island, and we are currently working with the Australian State in order to bring them back to Lebanon,” the minister added.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 23, 2014, on page 4.