Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood MP ended a two-day visit to Lebanon.
Mr. Ellwood met Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Speaker Nabih Berri and Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai. In his discussion with Patriarch Rai, Mr. Ellwood relayed the UK’s support to the role of faith leaders and citizens in guaranteeing long term reconciliation, stability and community cohesion. The UK remains committed to encouraging dialogue and recognises Lebanon as a symbol of dialogue, tolerance and diversity.
In his discussions with Lebanese officials Mr. Ellwood confirmed the UK’s long standing support to Lebanon’s stability and its fight against terrorism. He called on Lebanese leaders to elect a new President to preserve the continuity of Lebanese institutions and commended Lebanon’s efforts and generosity in response to the humanitarian crisis.
At the end of his visit Minister Ellwood said:
I was delighted to visit Lebanon for the first time as the Minister for the Middle East. I reiterated our support for Lebanon’s stability and its fight against terrorism. With a complex internal and regional backdrop, it is important that Lebanon remains united in its diversity, and works to elect a President, who is able to continue this important work for the sake of the country. I also welcomed Lebanon’s commitment and generous response to the Syrian refugee crisis.
The Lebanese Armed Forces are doing a remarkable job in confronting the threats emanating from the crisis in Syria. The UK is dedicated to supporting the LAF with practical, focused and responsive equipment and training programmes that match their courage.