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Aoun meets Russian presidential envoy: Lebanon welcomes Russian initiative

President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, on Thursday informed Russian President's Special Envoy Alexander Lavrentiev, that Lebanon welcomes the Russian initiative for the return of the displaced Syrians to their homeland.

"This position comes in line with the Lebanese calls to secure a safe return for the Syrian refugees, which limits the repercussions of the Syrian displacement on the situation in Lebanon," President Aoun maintained.

Aoun held a meeting on Thursday at the Baabda palace with the visiting high-level Russian presidential delegation, in the presence of House Speaker Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri.

The meeting broached the Russian initiative for the return of the displaced Syrians to their homeland.

The Russian delegation took up during the meeting the plan devised by the Russian Defense Ministry in conjunction with the Russian Foreign Ministry to arrange the displaced Syrians' return to their homeland.

The Russian delegation was headed by Russian President's Special Envoy Alexander Lavrentiev, including Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin, Russian Embassy Charge d'Affaire in Beirut, in addition to several diplomats, officers and advisors of the Russian Defense and Foreign Ministries.

Aoun thanked Russian President Putin for his support to Lebanon and for Russia's role in combating terrorism and preventing its expansion. Aoun brought to attention Lebanon's accomplishment in wiping out all the terrorist groups which occupied parts of the Lebanese territories on the eastern borders with Syria.

Aoun also pointed out that the security forces continue to clamp down on all dormant terror cells.

The head of State expressed Lebanon's readiness to provide the necessary assistance to implement the Russian proposal for the return of the displaced Syrians, whether through committees that will be set up for this purpose, or through the mechanism that will be adopted.

Aoun called on the international community to assist in achieving this return, especially the Syrian crisis is nearing a political solution.

On emerging, Putin's Special Envoy Lavrentiev said that the Russian delegation discussed with the Lebanese officials related to the situation in the region, particularly in Syria, and its impact on the neighboring countries including Lebanon.

Lavrentiev described the delegation's talks with the Lebanese officials as "constructive and fruitful," noting that the total number of all Syrian refugees around the world is around 6.5 million, according to UN statistics.

The high-level Russian official also expressed his belief that the situation in Syria is moving towards tranquility and the war on terrorism and "Daesh" has come to an end.

Lavrentiev also relayed Syria's readiness to receive all those who wish to return to Syria and to provide all the necessary conditions for them.

The Baabda meeting was attended on the Lebanese side by Caretaker National Defense Minister Yacoub Riad Sarraf, Army Commander General Joseph Aoun, General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim, Army Intelligence chief Antoine Mansour, and Foreign Affairs and Emigrants' Ministry's Political Affairs Director Ambassador Ghadi Khoury.

Source: National News Agency