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Aoun wishes for “practical” US understanding of Lebanon’s demand for refugee return

President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, on Monday expressed hope that the US would demonstrate a practical understanding of Lebanon's demand for a refugee return to safe areas in Syria.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was totally understanding of the Lebanese reality and Lebanon's aforementioned demands. He confirmed this in his testimony before the US Congress upon his return from Lebanon, Aoun said.

The President's words came on Monday before a visiting delegation of the American Task Force for Lebanon.

Moreover, Aoun hailed the existing friendship ties between the Lebanese and American peoples, calling on US companies to participate in the tenders of the oil and gas exploration in Lebanon, which will be launched after nearly a month, and other projects to be launched by the Lebanese state.

In response to a question, the Lebanese president reiterated Lebanon's appreciation to the United States for its assistance to the Lebanese army. He also expressed his regret over the US decision to annex Al-Quds and Golan to Israel. This has negatively affected us, he said.

"Lebanon is cooperating fully with the United Nations to implement Resolution 1701," Aoun added, noting that stability prevails inside Lebanon thanks to the vigilance of the army and the security forces.

In turn, speaking on the behalf of the US Task Force, Edward Gabriel thanked the President of the Republic, stressing "the importance of the delegation's visit to Lebanon."

We are proud that we are part of the diplomatic efforts between the United States and Lebanon, he said. We are pleased to inform you that before we came to Lebanon, the US Department of State gave us some important and positive information in terms of cooperation with the Lebanese army, he added.

On the issue of Syrian refugees, he referred to the "initiative he had launched last year after his visit to Lebanon, ahead of the "Helsinki summit", which brought together US President Donald Trump and Russian Vladimir Putin to put in place a humanitarian program for the summit to facilitate the refugee return to Syria.

"It is clear that the US was not ready to adopt this initiative, but we are beginning to sense signs that the time has come for a US-Russian dialogue on the issue of displaced people, Gabriel added.

Separately, President Aoun met Monday at Baabda palace with Hungarian Justice Minister Laszlo Trocsanyi, over the bilateral judicial cooperation between the two countries.

Talks were attended by Ministers Albert Serhan (Justice) and Fadi Jreissati (Environment), and Trocsanyi's accompanying delegation.

Aoun later received member of the French Parliament, Gerard Bapt, with whom he discussed the bilateral relations.

Source: National News Agency

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