Lebanon’s Aoun Arrives in Moscow for Talks with Russia’s Putin
By Staff, Agencies
Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun arrived in Moscow Monday around midday in preparation for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin to discuss bilateral relations and the Syrian refugee crisis.
The president had departed from Beirut at 9:30 a.m., accompanied by his daughter and adviser Mireille Aoun-Hachem and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, a statement from the presidency said. They were received in Moscow by Lebanese Ambassador to Russia Shawki Bou Nassar.
Aoun is expected to meet with senior Russian officials, in addition to the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
the President will also discuss bilateral relations between Russia and Lebanon, as well as the latest developments in the Middle East and ways to find a solution to the issue of displaced Syrians.
Earlier this month, Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin had told reporters that the visit would be “an important stop to [developing] the Russian-Lebanese cooperation on all levels.”
In July, Moscow had announced a plan to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their home country from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Many Lebanese officials welcomed the proposal, which included the return of a possible 890,000 Syrian refugees from Lebanon.
However, it has remained on hold as other political leaders have questioned Russia’s intentions in assisting with the returns. Questions have been raised about the initiative’s funding and the prospects of cooperation among the international community to make it work.
Aoun’s visit follows a series of official trips to Russia by Lebanese politicians, including MPs and an adviser to Prime Minister Saad Hariri.