The European Union and Lebanon share many of the same challenges, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Monday during a visit to Beirut
The European Union and Lebanon share many of the same challenges, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Monday during a visit to Beirut.
"We (the EU and Lebanon) belong to the same region and are facing together the same difficulties," she said in a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil at the Bustros Palace.
She lauded the country's efforts in dealing with the refugee crisis, in which more than 25 percent of people in Lebanon are now seeking refuge from the war in neighboring Syria.
"We are working together to face the biggest refugees crisis. And we will continue to support Lebanon," the EU official said, and in a clear hint at the ongoing presidential vacuum, she called on the revival Lebanon's Constitutional institutions.
Mogherini noted that Lebanon and the EU "believe in the importance of diversity," saying "there's a common interest in prevailing peace in Syria.
"We have a common interest with Lebanon to engage in dialogue in order to combat terrorism in the region."
Bassil warned in his speech of attempts to naturalize Syrian refugees in Lebanon, pointing out that only a political solution for the conflict in Syria would allow refugees to return to their homeland.
"The safe return of refugees to Syria should be part of any solution."
Mogherini arrived in Beirut on Monday to discuss the impact of more than 1 million Syrian refugees on the country’s fragile security and ailing economy with senior officials.
She kicked off her official trip to Lebanon by visiting the Grand Serail.
The EU official said after meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail that talks focused on "the strong determination to strengthen cooperation between Lebanon the EU in terms of combating terrorism."
She later met with Speaker Nabih Berri.