Italian FM Meets Lebanese Leaders, Stresses Importance of Lebanon's Stability


Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano held talks Thursday in Lebanon with the country's top officials and stressed the importance of Lebanon's stability.

Alfano held talks with President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda and handed him an official invitation on behalf of the Italian President to visit the country.

The Minister held talks later in the day with Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

His talks with Hariri focused on the situation in Lebanon and the region and the bilateral relations, the premier's office said.

Alfano also met with Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil and vowed to “offer assistance to Lebanon in this difficult period to contribute to its stability and the stability of the region.”

And lauding Lebanon's efforts in hosting the Syrian refugees, the minister added: “I don't think that any country in the world is hosting such a huge number of refugees as Lebanon is doing.”

Bassil for his part warned that Lebanon “has reached the point of collapse regarding its ability to cope with the huge influx of Syrian refugees.”

The FM also said that he agreed with Alfano that any political solution in Syria must involve the return of refugees to their country.

Later in the day, Alfano is scheduled to inspect Italian peacekeepers operating in the South as part of the UNIFIL mission.

Alfano had arrived Wednesday evening at the Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut at the head of a delegation from the Italian ministry.

He was received by Italian ambassador to Lebanon Massimo Marotti and Deputy Chief of Protocol at the Foreign Ministry Nadim Sourati.