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Foreign minister hails Lebanon’s new government

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Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides with his Lebanese counterpart Bou Habib

Nicos Christodoulides’ trip to Lebanon on Wednesday marked him as the first EU foreign minister to visit the crisis-stricken nation since it managed to form a new government, a move which he hailed as symbolic of the ties between the two countries.

Lebanese leaders agreed the formation of a new government last month after a year of feuding over key cabinet seats that has deepened the country’s crippling economic crisis.

But as Christodoulides reiterated in Beirut, the new government can now move to unlock key funds from the IMF.

In statements to the press following a meeting with his counterpart Bou Habib, Christodoulides said he realises that Lebanon is at a crossroads and the new government must face substantial challenges.

“It is critical that the ownership of the solution must be Lebanese, and no amount of foreign support can or should substitute the actions of the government, in close cooperation with the country’s vibrant civil society,” the foreign minister said.

He further stated that frank communication between the two states which “[share] similar concerns, emanating from our troubled neighbourhood” offers the opportunity to provide solutions on issues such as developments in the eastern Mediterranean and the wider Middle East.

Syria, natural gas and electricity were referenced as major topics, while deepening trilateral ties with Greece was also mentioned.

Christodoulides thanked his host for the warm hospitality in Beirut which is a city that “I personally, like many other Cypriots, hold very close to our hearts, as it makes us feel at home, not least due to the unmatched ability of our dear Lebanese friends to make one feel truly welcome.”

 

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