Prime Minister Saad Hariri received today at the “Center House” the Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin, in the presence of his advisor for Russian Affairs Georges Chaaban.

After the meeting, Zasypkin said: “It was a fruitful and friendly meeting. It is well known that Russia highly appreciated the stance of the Lebanese people and their fusion with Prime Minister Hariri during his presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Now we hope the ongoing consultations will succeed, to reach agreements that preserve the normal work of the government and its institutions in the socio-economic fields, in preparation for the upcoming parliamentary elections. We hope there will be no external interferences in the Lebanese decision, for the interest of security and stability. This is the stance of the international community throughout this period.”

Question: What is Russia’s role in urging the Lebanese and regional parties to return to the disassociation policy?

Zasypkin: Russia works within the International support group for Lebanon and there are some principles that we adhere to. There are some issues related to the Lebanese political approach, and they should agree on them among themselves. We heard the last statements of all parties including Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and it seems that this will be on the table of consultations. As Speaker Nabih Berri said, each side must take a few steps to reach the common denominator.

Question: Does Russia have any role at this stage, especially after the intervention of many countries particularly France, Egypt and Cyprus?

Zasypkin: Helping without interfering in the internal affairs is something, and interfering is something else. We think that France and Egypt did not interfere in the internal affairs but they helped and mediated to facilitate things.

Question: Are you helping to facilitate things?

Zasypkin: Regarding the part related to our capabilities, we are ready to help. We are following the developments and the situation. We did what is required from us and we will do it in the future.

Question: Did you hear from Prime Minister Hariri that the government will resume its meetings and activities?

Zasypkin: It is still early to talk about this. We hope for positive results of the consultations. This is Russia’s stance in principle, and when we talk about the ruling coalition in Lebanon, we prefer it includes a wide number of parties.

Prime Minister Hariri then received the Head of the EU Delegation to Lebanon, Ambassador Christina Lassen, and discussed with her the developments in the country and the relations between the European Union and Lebanon.

After the meeting, Lassen distributed the following statement:

“Ambassador Christina Lassen welcomed Prime Minister Hariri’s return to the country. She expressed hope for a constructive dialogue among political parties carried by a joint understanding of the importance of the stability, unity, integrity and sovereignty of Lebanon and its people. She also commended the Prime Minister for his efforts to safeguard the stability and security of the country.

She added: “Lebanon’s independence and stability is a priority for the European Union amidst the regional turmoil.”

She underlined that the EU will continue to work together with Lebanon to build on the achievements accomplished, including the holding of timely parliamentary elections next year.

Lassen concluded: “We will pursue our support to the Lebanese institutions, army, and security agencies and to the people of Lebanon to respond to the current challenges in the spirit of our longstanding partnership with the country. Our commitment in support of Lebanon is firm and lasting.”

Earlier, Premier Hariri discussed with Deputy United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Philippe Lazzarini the situation and the United Nations activities in Lebanon.

Hariri received a cable from the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas congratulating him on the occasion of Independence Day. Abbas wished the Lebanese people greater stability and prosperity, expressing his pride regarding the brotherly Lebanese stances supporting the rights of the Palestinian people and their struggle for their freedom and independence.

Source: National News Agency