BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman expressed hope Monday that the current changes in the Arab world as a result of the popular uprisings would lead to the reforms, freedom and democracy desired by the region’s peoples.
“There can be no real stability or peace in the Middle East without social justice inside [these countries] and without a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestine problem and all aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Sleiman said during a ceremony in Moscow.
Sleiman was in the Russian capital to receive an award from the International Institution for the Unity of Orthodox Peoples, which is annually presented to leaders and senior politicians who have worked to revive contact and dialogue between conflicting factions.
Speaking during a meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Sleiman expressed his “happiness and pride with winning this award which was presented to a Lebanese figure for the first time in 18 years,” the state-run National News Agency reported.
During his visit to Moscow, Sleiman will hold talks with senior Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, on bilateral relations and developments in the region, particularly the 22-month-old conflict in Syria.