BEIRUT: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed during a recent meeting with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri the importance of keeping Lebanon away from regional conflicts, including Syria, a report said Tuesday.
Pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat, citing informed sources, said Lavrov underscored the importance of adhering to the Baabda Declaration, a deal signed between rival Lebanese political groups to distance Lebanon from Middle Eastern conflicts.
The sources said Lavrov also voiced Russia’s keenness for a stable Lebanon, during talks with Hariri in Paris Sunday.
Lavrov, according to the sources, stressed the need to respect constitutional deadlines, including the presidential election due in May.
A statement from Hariri’s office said the former PM discussed with Russia’s foreign minister the situation in Lebanon and developments in the region. No other details were given.
Hariri is likely to meet Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun in Rome to discuss the Cabinet formation bid.
Optimism about breaking the nine-month Cabinet stalemate capped after a fresh flurry of political activity has recently emerged, aimed at narrowing differences between the March 8 and March 14 parties over the shape of the government.
On a separate issue, the Russian foreign minister underlined the importance of punishing terrorists by the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
Lavrov said Russia, if invited, would attend the long-awaited STL trial, due to start Thursday.
Turning to the war next-door, Lavrov reiterated Russia’s position for a stable Syria and said his country “does not depend on one particular person,” in reference to President Bashar Assad.
Hariri, however, stressed there would be no stability in Syria if Hezbollah and Iran continued to intervene in the conflict, Al-Hayat said.