Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias met with his Lebanese counterpart on Friday in Athens, with bilateral and EU-Lebanon co-operation, as well as recent regional developments on the agenda, according to a Foreign Ministry post on Twitter.
The meeting took place following yesterday’s tripartite meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Lebanon in Athens.
According to Dendias, he had a fruitful exchange of views with his Lebanese counterpart Charbel Wehbe.
He also stressed that if not for the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting would have taken place much earlier.
Dendias expressed Greece’s full solidarity with Lebanon’s efforts to restore the country and added: “As in the past, we are now on the side of Lebanese citizens and society.”
“We are ready to provide our support in anyway we can,” he added.
He noted that Greek companies, which have extensive experience in the Middle East, are ready to join the effort, and stressed the support of the Greek government for the promotion of Lebanon’s relations with the EU.
Dendias explained that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis already mentioned at a recent European Council meeting that “new funding for refugees from Syria will cover not only the refugees in Turkey, but also in Lebanon.”
During Dendias’ meeting with Wehbe, all regional developments in the region, as well as Syria and Libya, and prospects for the development of cooperation between the two countries were also discussed.
The Lebanese Foreign Minister, for his part, thanked “the Greek government and the Greek people for the sympathy and solidarity they showed to Lebanon after the disaster that happened in the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020.”
He pointed out that Lebanon is looking forward to the tripartite Summit in order to put on the table all the projects and the cooperation between Greece-Cyprus and Lebanon and the strengthening of the relations between the countries.
During his meetings with both Dendias and the Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulidis, all common issues were discussed at bilateral and tripartite level.
These include security, stability, the fight against terrorism, as well as the prevention of and controlling the flow of refugees to the Eastern Mediterranean.
“The challenges we face together in the Eastern Mediterranean region are great and may relate to Lebanon’s own destiny, so the treatment must be radical and not a painkiller,” he said.
As he recalled, Lebanon has been hosting more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees and an additional 500,000 Palestinian refugees since 1948.
“It requires an approach from the entire international community and not just from Lebanon on an individual level,” he said, adding “The closest countries are Cyprus and Greece and we must thank them for their understanding and response.”
He also referred to the problems and challenges facing his country after the explosion and the economic crisis from which it suffers.
He noted that “Greece had gone through a similar economic crisis but it came out and of course we want to benefit from the Greek experience.”
Finally, the Lebanese official congratulated “Greece on the 200th anniversary of the 1821 Revolution against the Ottoman yoke.”