BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt stressed during talks with Turkish officials in Ankara earlier this week the need to maintain stability in Lebanon.
A PSP statement issued Friday said Jumblatt discussed with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu the latest regional developments, including the Syria crisis and the security situation in Lebanon.
The meeting, which was held on Dec. 31 and also attended by caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, addressed the humanitarian implications of the Syria crisis.
The two men agreed that the scale of aggressions being carried out by the Syrian regime forces, most recently in Aleppo, were unprecedented and grave.
The meeting also tackled the Geneva II conference, expected to be held this month, and the ways that Lebanon and Turkey can cooperate before the start of the talks.
Jumblatt stressed the “importance of preserving stability in light of the growing challenges being faced both locally and regionally,” and expressed his appreciation for Turkey’s supportive stances toward Lebanon especially as the country is passing a critical stage, according to the statement.
The statement also said that Davutoglu and his wife had held a banquet to honor Jumblatt, his wife Nora, as well as Abu Faour.
Once a close ally of Syria, Turkey cut off ties with the regime since Assad’s deadly crackdown on popular dissent began in March 2011 and has become one of the most fervent supporters of the Syrian uprising.
Ankara has so far taken in more than 600,000 Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war in neighboring Syria. Though Turkey has occasionally closed its border crossings for security reasons, it has maintained an open-door policy since the start of the conflict.