Commitment to a stable Lebanon
Foreign Minister Westerwelle visited Lebanon on 7 and 8 June. His talks there were dominated by the question as to how to prevent the violence in neighbouring Syria from spilling over into Lebanon. The Foreign Minister gave assurances that Germany was committed to a stable Lebanon.
Foreign Minister Westerwelle with Lebanese President Sleiman
© Th. Koehler, photothek / Auswärtiges Amt
In Beirut, Westerwelle met President Sleiman, Foreign Minister Mansour, Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Mikati and others.
The Minister stated after his talks with Najib Mikati that all of this interlocutors seemed concerned “that the dramatic situation in Syria would also have negative repercussions for Lebanon”.
The political situation in Lebanon is currently dominated by the impact of the Syria crisis. There have been repeated violent clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime. Moreover, there are many Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Prime Minister Mikati’s Government is seeking to stabilize the situation. All established political forces have called repeatedly for moderation.
Ensuring that the violence is not exported
Westerwelle appealed to everyone concerned to work towards political and peaceful solutions: “We have an interest in a stable Lebanon.” He stated that Germany would help to establish this stability. “We’ll play our part in ensuring that the violence isn’t exported,” said Westerwelle and pointed to the German Government’s humanitarian assistance and Germany’s participation in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon mission (UNIFIL).
UNIFIL was established by UN Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006) to monitor the ceasefire between Lebanon and Israel since the end of the war between the two countries in 2006. The focus of the mission is the expansion of the maritime capabilities, in particular by training the Lebanese navy.
Westerwelle during talks with Fouad Siniora
© dpa / picture alliance
Westerwelle used his visit in Beirut to meet German UNIFIL troops. Around 220 German soldiers are currently serving with this mission. Just a few days ago, on 6 June, the German Government decided to extend Germany’s involvement in UNIFIL by one year. This Cabinet decision still has to be approved by the Bundestag, which is due to address this matter in mid-June.
Westerwelle also met the former Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora and members of his parliamentary group in Beirut. The visit to Lebanon is the last leg in a trip which previously took Foreign Minister Westerwelle to the Gulf states Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as well as Turkey.
Last updated 08.06.2012