BEIRUT: Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi highlighted during talks with Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt in Cairo Wednesday the need to protect Lebanon’s unity and stability.
“The Egyptian president stressed the necessity to strengthen Lebanon’s home front in order to preserve the unity and stability of Lebanon,” said Sisi’s spokesman Ehab Badawi.
Badawi said that Sisi discussed with Jumblatt several regional issues of mutual interest, with the Syrian conflict in the forefront.
Sisi and Jumblatt touched on the repercussions of Syria’s crisis on Lebanon, particularly in light of presidential vacuum Lebanon has been witnessing since May 25.
Badawi said that Jumblatt had expressed hopes during the meeting that Lebanon would soon elect a new president who would help boost its security and stability.
“Jumblatt highlighted Egypt’s pivotal role in the region on the political level, particularly its promotion of moderate Islamic thoughts and its combat of extremism and terrorism,” Badawi said.
The PSP leader voiced hope that Egypt would carry on with efforts to strengthen moderate Islam in the region and contribute to bridging gaps between various groups in the Middle East in general, and in Lebanon in particular, which would serve the interests of Muslim and Arab people.
For his part, Sisi said that any arrangements in the Middle East should take into consideration the security concerns of Egypt and Gulf Arab states.
“Although the diversity of religious sects provide an environment for intellectual and religious richness, there are some trying to take advantage of diversity to spark divisions,” Sisi said.
The Egyptian president warned against attempts to exploit religion in order to wield influence and dominate Arab people, which creates a fertile environment for extremism, violence and terrorism.
Sisi said that the absence of a just settlement to the Palestinian cause over the past decades would boost such environment.
Accompanying Jumblatt in his visit were Health Minister Wael Abu Faour, Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb and MPs Ghazi Aridi and Alaaeddine Terro. Jumblatt is expected to return to Lebanon Wednesday evening.