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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat

Arab Foreign Ministers Renew Confidence in Lebanon's Stability, Future

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit (C-L), Lebanon's caretaker Foreign Minister Abdullah Bouhabib (C), and Arab League Assistant Secretary-General Hossam Zaki (C-R) chair a meeting of the Council of Arab Foreign Ministers at al-Habtoor Hotel in Sin el-Fil in Lebanon's capital Beirut on July 2, 2022. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP)

The Arab foreign ministers reaffirmed Arab support and solidarity with Lebanon, reflecting "confidence in Lebanon's stability and future," announced Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

Arab foreign ministers arrived in Beirut to participate in the consultative meeting in preparation for the Arab Summit that will be held in Algeria in November.

The meeting concluded on Saturday with the participation of the Arab Foreign Ministers except for Syria, whose membership remains suspended.

Ahead of the meeting, a delegation of participants visited the presidential palace in Baabda and met with President Michel Aoun, who stressed the importance of Arab-Arab relations.

"Lebanon, despite its difficult circumstances, is determined to face challenges and find solutions to get out of its crises,” said Aoun.

He reiterated that Lebanon could no longer bear the burden of the large numbers of refugees and displaced persons on its land.

"We hope that you will help us to face these challenges."

Aoun said the Arab world is facing several challenges that require consultation and cooperation, adding that solidarity between Arab countries is essential in light of the current crises.

The President told the ministers that Lebanon suffers from a series of accumulated crises, adding that the large numbers of refugees and displaced people in Lebanon put a burden on the country.

"The international community's position does not encourage finding quick solutions," said Aoun.

The President hoped the Arab Foreign Ministers would "help face these challenges," stressing that "Lebanon, despite its difficult circumstances, is determined to face challenges and find solutions to get out of its crises."

Aboul Gheit pointed out that the Arab League supports Lebanon, its government, and its people.

He asserted that meetings between Arab Foreign Ministers are essential for communication, which would led to agreements on projects and programs that benefit the League.

Aboul Gheit considered holding the meeting in Beirut at this time essential and significant to assert that the Arab countries stand by Lebanon, its political leadership, and its people.

He said the League hopes "this beautiful country and its long history will overcome the economic and political problems it faces."

Later, the Arab delegation met with Speaker Nabih Berri, who reiterated that Lebanon "will not forget its Arab brothers, nor forget Taif, Doha, or Kuwait."

Berri asserted that Lebanon is in a "state of cessation of payment (of debt) and possesses all the elements of revival and resurrection from crises" with the sincere help of its people and Arab countries.

Lebanon has an expatriate community spread out in the Arab states and worldwide, said the Speaker, adding that it has an important humanitarian, cultural, and financial tributary that can constitute an important and pivotal factor in advancing alongside the water, oil, and gas wealth in the sea, especially at the borders with Palestine.

The Meeting

The consultative meeting was chaired by the caretaker foreign minister, Abdullah Bouhabib. Lebanon chairs the current session of the Council of Arab Foreign Ministers.

After the meeting, Assistant Secretary-General Ambassador Hossam Zaki told reporters that they discussed the preparations for the Arab summit in Algeria and the catastrophic situation of famine in Somalia in light of the difficult climatic conditions and Arab food security.

He noted that General Secretariat prepared the plan, which will be submitted in September, adding that they also discussed the Palestinian issue.

"The conferees expressed support and solidarity with Lebanon, but no side issues were put forward," added Zaki.

Upon his arrival, the Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki affirmed the importance of Lebanon among Arab countries, noting that the arrival of foreign ministers to Beirut is significant.

He told reporters that his visit confirms the unique relations that unite Lebanon with Palestine and freely discuss Palestinian concerns and issues.

Jordan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi conveyed King Abdullah's greetings to the Lebanese President, expressing the King's keenness to enhance the "historical and brotherly" relations between the countries.

Safadi said that Jordan supports Lebanon's efforts to overcome the challenging conditions and restore its crucial role, stressing that protecting Lebanon's stability is fundamental to regional security and stability.

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