Kuwait, Lebanon leaders hold talks

A photo provided by the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA on January 23, 2018, shows Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah (R) receiving Lebanese President Michel Aoun at Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait City. – === RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / HO / KUNA” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ===/ AFP / KUNA / – / === RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / HO / KUNA” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ===

Manama: Lebanese President Michel Aoun on a visit to Kuwait on Tuesday sought to reassure his host and other countries about the situation in Lebanon.

“The stability Lebanon is enjoying encourages investment and contribution to the economic development,” Aoun reportedly said as he was received by the Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah for official bilateral talks at Bayan Palace in Kuwait City.

The two leaders confirmed “the reinforcement of cooperation between the two countries in all fields,” stressing on the necessity to activate the joint Arab work.

Both sides also hoped that the next Arab summit would be a chance to unify the Arab positions and restore solidarity among Arabs, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported.

They also condemned the US decision to recognise AL Quds as Israel’s capital, it added.

Aoun who expressed during the meeting gratitude for Kuwait’s backing of Lebanon in all junctures, asked for its participation in the three conferences to be held in support of his country in Rome, Paris, and Brussels.

According to the Lebanese news agency, Aoun “shone light on the tribulations of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the reverberations of their massive presence on the Lebanese economy, social life, and security.”

Shaikh Sabah reportedly told his guest that he had given the necessary instructions to the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, to respond to Lebanon’s needs.

Kuwait’s presence in the UN Security Council “can help demonstrate the justness of the Arab causes,” he highlighted.

Speaking to the media following the talks, Kuwait’s Minister of State for Amiri Diwan Affairs Shaikh Ali Jarrah Al Sabah said that the talks centered on bilateral ties and issues of mutual concern.

In an interview on the eve of his two-day trip to Kuwait, Aoun told Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) that his country doubled efforts to restore its position as a main destination for tourists from the Gulf region, particularly from Kuwait.

“The security of tourists is an integral part of the security of Lebanon. There is no justification for Arab brothers to panic into staying away from Lebanon. The situation in Lebanon is stable and calm thanks to the vigilance of the security services and the strong will of the people for stability,” he said, citing recent reports of field studies.

He added that his country was preparing to launch a plan to turn its economy from consuming into productive.

President Aoun said that more than 1.8 million refugees in his country added more strains on the already fragile economy of Lebanon besides the security burdens. “Many donor countries failed to honour their aid pledges and humanitarian undertakings towards Lebanon. This is why we are lobbying for the return of the refugees to safe havens inside Syria,” he said, quoted by Kuna.

“In this connection, Lebanon pins high hopes on Kuwait which proved to be a reliable friend of Lebanon at numerous regional and international forums. Kuwait, mindful of the developments of the situations in Lebanon and the region, can play an essential role in international conferences in support of Lebanon.”

He stressed that Lebanon had never adopted a hostile policy towards any country in the Middle East.

“To the contrary, Lebanon was antagonised and victimised repeatedly by aggressors, but struggled relentlessly to defend its own values and distinctive role in the region,” he said.

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