Foreign Minister Urmas Paet Met With New Lebanese Prime Minister and Other Leaders in Beirut
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met in Beirut today with President of Lebanon Michel Sulayman as well as the ministers of the new government, who just assumed office last week: Prime Minister Najib Mikat, Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, Minister of the Interior Marwan Charbel, Commander of the Armed Forces Jean Kahwag, and other Lebanese officials.
Foreign Minister Paet said that the members of Lebanon’s new government, with Prime Minister Mikat at the head, confirmed that the release of the seven Estonian citizens and their return home is also extremely important to the new government. “The representatives of Lebanon’s new government understand that abductions leave a mark on Lebanon’s reputation and affect tourism and the entire economy. Therefore they want for this situation to be resolved as soon as possible. It’s also clear that attention will continue to be given to the circumstances of the seven Estonians’ abduction until the situation is resolved,” he added.
During the meetings, Paet said that Estonia appreciates the co-operation with Lebanon that has taken place so far in the search for the Estonian citizens. “But Estonia’s goal is to reach a positive resolution to this incident and have the Estonians return home. Only then will it be possible to give a final assessment,” he noted.
The Estonian foreign minister said it is encouraging that after a months-long negotiation period Lebanon has a new government. “This strengthens stability in the country and is essential for continuing co-operation with the Lebanese authorities. The Lebanese police and security forces have already worked very closely together with Estonia, and this co-operation will continue,” Paet said.
President of Lebanon Sulayman also said during his meeting with Paet that the Lebanese services will continue to work on resolving the abduction of the Estonians until the Estonian citizens are back at home.
The situation in Syria was discussed at the meetings with the president and prime minister. Paet stated that the leaders of Lebanon are in contact with the leaders of Syria in order to ensure, if necessary, co-operation on the part of Syria for resolving the situation there.
During his meeting with Foreign Minister Mansour, Paet also spoke about intensifying Estonia-Lebanon bilateral relations. “It would be practical to set up regular political consultations in order to reach this goal,” he said.
According to Foreign Minister Paet, Estonia will also continue co-operating with other countries in the region in addition to Lebanon in order to find the abducted Estonians.
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