BEIRUT: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on world leaders to help end the spate of deadly car bomb attacks in Lebanon.
“He urged the international community to eradicate terrorism in Lebanon and the region as a whole,” Russia’s news agency Itar-Tass quoted Lavrov as saying.
Lavrov made his comments during an international donors’ meeting in Paris Wednesday to help Lebanon cope with the huge influx of Syrian refugees and boost its defense and economy.
“We strongly condemn attempts to provoke an outbreak of tension through a series of terrorist acts carried out in recent months. We call on the members of the international community to pool efforts in order to raise an effective barrier on the way of those who are trying to kindle inter-confessional strife, pernicious for the region, through a series of bloody attacks in Lebanon and other Middle East countries,” Lavrov said.
He urged “solidarity” among Lebanese people and political forces on the basis of “the positive potential” shaped earlier through National Dialogue.
Lavrov said Russia would continue “military-technical” cooperation with the Lebanese Army.
“We note the role of the Lebanese Army and law enforcement agencies as well as UNIFIL [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] in maintaining stability in the country. We are ready to continue military-technical cooperation with Lebanon in the interest of strengthening its armed forces and security services,” Lavrov told the conference, the second in as many months.
The first meeting was held in New York last September. The attendees underlined the continuing need for strong, coordinated support for Lebanon in response to the unprecedented challenges posed by the crisis in Syria.
They also noted the many ongoing pressures on Lebanon and underlined the importance of sharing the burden of Syrian refugees.
The Russian foreign minister also called on the international community to support Lebanese government institutions that deal with refugees.
“ Lebanon is facing serious challenges created by a huge influx of refugees from neighboring Syria that has been torn by a bloody internal armed conflict,” Lavrov said.
“ Lebanon is experiencing tremendous pressure on its budget and law enforcement system, social sphere and economy, as well as obvious demographic and political risks,” he said.
Lavrov said assistance should include not only donation pledges “which are often realized only in part, but mainly real support to the Lebanese government and private institutions that deal directly with the accommodation of refugees in the country, and implementation of joint business and investment projects aimed at strengthening the Lebanese economy and reducing unemployment.”
At the political level, Lavrov underscored the need to resolve political disagreements between the rival Lebanese political sides.
This should include the drafting of the government policy statement, its approval by Parliament and settling issues concerning the upcoming presidential elections, according to Lavrov.
He stressed that any dispute in Lebanon should be solved internally without foreign meddling.
“Assisting the people of Lebanon in preserving and strengthening internal stability is a task of paramount importance. All problems on the national agenda must be addressed by the Lebanese themselves in accordance with law, with the unconditional respect for the current political and inter-confessional balance, and without external interference,” Lavrov said.
Likewise, he stressed the need to step up efforts aimed at achieving a peaceful settlement in Syria, which will allow refugees to return home.
“ Russia sees no alternative to further inter-Syrian talks in Geneva,” he added.