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Cyprus understands the Lebanese situation, says Christodoulides

Cypriot president Nicos Christodoulides has been in Beirut to discuss migration after a wave of small boats were launched from Lebanon toward Cyprus over the last few weeks.

Lebanese House Speaker, Nabih Berri welcomed Christodoulides to also discuss he general situation in Lebanon and the region, as well as on bilateral relations between Lebanon and Cyprus.

“Talks were very good.” According to the national news agency, he denied “any resentment from the Cypriot side” and said, “On the contrary, there is fruitful cooperation.”

“Lebanon and Cyprus have a common interest in addressing the challenges posed by illegal migration, and there is potential for cooperation in empowering relevant institutions to control maritime borders,’ Caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, said in a later meeting with Christodoulides.

“Lebanon and Cyprus are active members of regional organizations such as the League of Arab States and the European Union, where they will raise their voices to help crystallize the required solutions to common issues,” Mikati added.

For his part, the Cypriot President emphasized that Cyprus’s neighborhood policy with Lebanon is based on the brotherhood that connects the historical relations between the two countries.

“My visit to Lebanon is the first after assuming the presidency, and it comes following the recent developments resulting from the large preparations for Syrian refugees and illegal immigrants, who depart from the Syrian coast or through the Lebanese coast, and the illegal boats that depart from the Lebanese coast to Cyprus,” Christodoulides said.

“Cyprus understands the Lebanese situation and the sensitivity of the issue to Lebanon and the importance of a final and comprehensive solution to this issue by exerting pressure on the European Union and international forums to understand the challenges facing Lebanon. At the same time, we understand Lebanon’s official position that the final solution will only be achieved by their return to their lands, especially since there are specific areas that have become safe in Syria, and the majority of refugees are economic refugees. It is up to the international community and international organizations to work to fund development projects in Syria and encourage their return to their country to solve this crisis, which affects not only the security of Lebanon and Cyprus but also the security of the Mediterranean,” Christodoulides added.

Famagusta Gazette