ASIA/LEBANON - Aoun thanks Putin also for supporting Christians in the Middle East

Thursday, 28 March 2019 middle east   oriental churches   refugees   geopolitics   ecumenicalism  


Moscow (Agenzia Fides) - Lebanese President Michel Aoun, during his recent visit to Moscow, thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin also for the present and future support guaranteed by Russia to Christian communities in the Middle East. This was reported by Russian sources relaunched by website. During the meeting, which took place on Tuesday 26 March, Aoun invited the Russian President to visit Lebanon. During his visit to the Russian capital, the Lebanese Head of State expressed negative judgments about US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan, defining this move as a violation of international law that regulates the boundaries between the states.
During their stay in Moscow, Aoun and the delegation which accompanied him, also had meetings with representatives of the Duma and representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, led by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk.
In the talks between Aoun and Hilarion, the possibility of creating in the near future an instrument of dialogue was taken into consideration to favor the closeness of Russian Christians with the Christians of the Middle East, experimenting with new forms of collaboration in the fields of religious tourism, of school education and social and charitable works.
The leaders of the Duma expressed their support regarding the urgency - recalled insistently by many Lebanese leaders - of favoring the repatriation of Syrian refugees present on Lebanese territory. In this regard, a proposal was made to convene an interparliamentary conference in Beirut, with representatives of Lebanese, Russian, European, Turkish, Iranian and Syrian parliaments to study how to repatriate Syrian refugees.
Aoun's visit to Moscow takes place at a time when the United States is putting pressure on the Lebanese government to reduce the influence of the Shiite Hezbollah party. According to Lebanese analysts, the official Lebanese delegation went to Russia also with the intention of diversifying its reports on international scenarios.
Michel Aoun and many other Lebanese leaders reiterate that in their opinion the Western countries take no account of the vital needs of Lebanon regarding the presence on their national territory of more than one million refugees. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 28/3/2019)