Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil Monday said Lebanon will work alongside the Austrian government to secure the swift and permanent return of Syrian refugees, in a televised news conference alongside his Austrian counterpart Karin Kneissl.
Lebanon’s adoption of a regional disassociation policy, Bassil said, is beneficial as long as it does not conflict with Lebanon’s interest and security.
“What we want for our country and other countries, primarily Syria, are long-term solutions,” he said.
Bassil said Lebanon is working with international communities and the United Nations to secure the safe return of refugees to their homeland, “especially [given] that the current refugees are not political refugees. They fled because of security issues and the security situation in Syria is improving,” he claimed.
“I respect Lebanon and the Lebanese people for their generosity in welcoming Syrian refugees over the past years,” Kneissl said.
Bassil and Kneissl discussed bilateral relations over lunch. The foreign minister discussed with his Austrian counterpart strategies for exporting Lebanese products to Austria. They also spoke about Austria’s position on the Palestinian return and establishing peace in the region.
According to the Austrian Foreign Ministry’s website, Kneissl has worked as an independent lecturer in the areas of international law, Middle Eastern history and the energy market at various universities, including the Lebanese institutions Saint Joseph University in Beirut and the International Center for Human Sciences in Jbeil.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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