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Aoun meets Kneissl: Netanyahu’s weapon depot claims groundless

President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, notified Austrian Foreign Minister, Karin Kneissl, that the claims by Israeli enemy Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, about the existence of weapon depots in the vicinity of Rafic Hariri International Airport are categorically groundless and untrue.

"Such claims conceal a new Israeli threat to Lebanese sovereignty and target our international airport," President Aoun told Minister Kneissl, who called on the President this morning at the Baabda palace, at the top of a delegation.

Aoun called on Austria and the world to be aware of Israel's plots against Lebanon, especially as it continues its violations of international resolutions, including resolution 1701.

"Lebanon will face any Israeli assault against its sovereignty," the President stressed.

Aoun briefed Kneissl, who is also concerned with European affairs and integration, on Lebanon's stance supporting the return of Syrian refugees to safe areas in Syria. He also recounted the socio-economic, social and security repercussions of the influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon since 2011.

The head of state called for separating the issue of refugees' return from the realization of a political solution, since as he said "reaching such a solution may be delayed, as has happened with regard to other issues, including the Palestinian issue."

Aoun also called on Austria to support his proposal mentioned in his word at the United Nations General Assembly to establish the "Human Academy for Rapprochement and Dialogue" through which Lebanon intends to spread the culture of peace in the world and to graduate students who believe in the importance of dialogue among civilizations, peoples, religions and races.

Minister Kneissl, for her part, expressed her happiness to visit Lebanon and meet with Aoun once again, noting that she had met him back in the year 1989 when he assumed the Premiership presidency.

Kneissl noted that Austria stands by Lebanon and views it as "an exemplary country in terms of the steadfastness of its citizens and their sacrifices."

The Austrian minister also noted that Lebanon's humanitarian experience has formed a role model to follow suit.

She also expressed confidence that Lebanon is capable of confronting all surrounding challenges.

The visiting Minister also hailed the care given by Lebanon to the displaced Syrians.

"The care given by Lebanon to the displaced Syrians is unprecedented in the history of countries and peoples," she maintained.

Kneissl called for the adoption of gradual solutions to the Syrian crisis that help end the suffering of the displaced people and limit its repercussions on Lebanon.

Kneissl reaffirmed Austria's support for "the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Lebanon," calling for respect for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and for strengthening Lebanese-Austrian relations in all fields.

Talks between Aoun and the visiting Austrian minister featured high on the general political situation in Lebanon following the parliamentary elections.

Source: National News Agency