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Lebanese president calls for return of Syrian refugees to safe zones

A Syrian boy stands near the garbage dump at a Syrian refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon on March 21, 2017 (Ratib Al Safadi - Anadolu Agency )
A Syrian boy stands near the garbage dump at a Syrian refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon on 21 March 2017 (Ratib Al Safadi - Anadolu Agency )

Lebanese President Michel Aoun called on Monday for the return of Syrian refugees to safe zones in Syria. He made his comment during a meeting with Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti and Italy’s Ambassador in Beirut, Massimo Maruti.

The meeting addressed means of boosting economic, trade and military cooperation, especially in the training and exchange of experience between the Italian and Lebanese armies.

Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti (L) shakes hands with the President of Lebanon Michel Aoun (R) in Beirut, Lebanon on April 3, 2017 (Lebanon Presidency / Handout - Anadolu Agency )

Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti (L) shakes hands with the President of Lebanon Michel Aoun (R) in Beirut, Lebanon on April 3, 2017 (Lebanon Presidency / Handout – Anadolu Agency )

President Aoun pointed out that Lebanon and Italy face the same challenges of migration, displacement, terrorism and security threats. He praised the role played by the Italian soldiers with the UN forces — UNIFIL — operating in southern Lebanon.

Pinotti stressed that Italy will continue to work to strengthen relations between the two countries. Italian participation in UNIFIL, he pointed out, contributes to stabilising the border zone.

Read: Over 1.5m Syrian refugees are lost in Lebanon

On the issue of the Syrian refugees, Pinotti said that Italy will continue to help to alleviate the burden on the Lebanese government and provide assistance to the Lebanese armed forces to ensure success in the tasks assigned to them.

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