Russia and Lebanon should coordinate positions to be able to resist the terrorist threat, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, as he began talks with his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil on Wednesday.
“We met in Vienna just recently within the framework of activities by the Syrian Support Group, but in the current conditions we should be meeting more often, bearing in mind the threats all of us are confronted with, and the gravest hardships that fell to the lot of Lebanon, Syria and other countries,” Lavrov said.
He remarked that he hoped to discuss with his Lebanese counterpart “cooperation to resolve the Syrian crisis and prevent the seizure of power by terrorists.”
“We will actively support your leadership in the efforts to overcome the political crisis,” Lavrov added. “Moscow appreciates your personal contribution to the development of cooperation with Russia.”
In a related development Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council upper parliament house Valentina Matviyenko called last Friday on Russia and Lebanon to invigorate efforts to counter terrorism.
She sent a message of condolences over the twin bombing south of the Lebanese capital Beirut to speaker of the Lebanese parliament Nabih Berri.
“Decisively condemning this terrible crime, I reiterate my
firm confidence in the necessity to further coordinate joint efforts in countering terrorism in any of its manifestations,” Matviyenko said. She asked her Lebanese counterpart on behalf of the Russian parliament to convey “sincere condolences to the families of those killed and the words of support and wishes of the soonest recovery to those wounded.”
Two suicide bombers on motorbikes blew themselves up on a crowded street in a southern Beirut suburb Thursday, killing 43 people and wounding 239 in an attack, one of the deadliest to strike the country since the end of the civil war. The two blasts went off near the Mansour shopping centre and Ain Al Siki in Bourj al-Barajneh. The Islamic State terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Oil and gas cooperation
Rich opportunities in the oil and gas sectors can push Lebanon and Russia into a closer relationship, Bassil said during talks with Lavrov, in Moscow on Wednesday
“We discussed the opportunities that may arise in the oil and gas sector especially since Lebanon retains substantial reserves,” Bassil said, according to a press statement from his office. “In that regard both countries may rely on the presence of the substantial numbers of Lebanese expats in Russia and the networks they have built,” he added during a joint news conference with Lavrov.
Bassil lauded the Lebanese-Russian relationship, which he said was built on principles and mutual values. He called it a model for relations between Lebanon and Western nations. “Common values lead to common interests and not the other way around.”
On the presidential crisis, Lavrov urged the Lebanese rivals to “locate constitutional solutions away from any foreign intervention,” praising the national dialogue between the political arch foes.
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