Tuesday, July 23, 2019
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Aoun affirms Lebanon’s right to extract oil within exclusive economic zone, refuses to participate in forums involving Israel

President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, said in a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart, Prokopius Pavlopoulos, that "in recent history, relations have been strengthened with the residence of an active Greek community in Lebanon and vice versa."

The President underscored "Lebanon's right to extract oil and gas within the exclusive economic zone," refusing "to join any forum or mechanism of cooperation involving Israel, especially the East Mediterranean Gas Forum."

"We are looking forward to the summit to be held between Lebanon, Greece and Cyprus, hosted by the Cypriot capital and aiming to consolidate the various aspects of cooperation," Aoun said, thanking his guest for Greece's unyielding support to Lebanon, its attendance at the Cedar conference, its participation in the UNIFIL naval force, and its upholding Lebanon at regional and international forums.

"I seized the opportunity to inform His Excellency the President of the initiative I launched at the United Nations on establishing the Human Academy for Encounter and Dialogue in Lebanon, and asked for his country's contribution to achieving it," President Aoun added.

"We reviewed the thorny file of displaced people, and I briefed the president on the burdens borne by Lebanon as a result of the presence of more than one million and 800 thousand displaced persons on its land, added to the chronic issue of Palestinian asylum. This reality urges a joint and swift action to close the file by facilitating the [Syrians'] return to the safe areas in Syria," he corroborated.

The Head of State also praised the Greek president's position on Al-Quds and the Syrian Golan. "The US decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights and the acknowledgment of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel are flagrant violations of the foundations of international legitimacy and the UN Charter. This threatens the sovereignty of Lebanon which has pieces of land occupied by Israel," he said.

Source: National News Agency