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Bassil to Pompeo: We solicit support for Lebanon to secure safe repatriation of displaced

"Pompeo's visit is the first of its kind to Lebanon, and it demonstrates the depth of relations and friendship, and the solidity and stability of the Lebanese scene," said Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil in a joint press conference with his US counterpart Mike Pompeo whom he welcomed this Friday afternoon at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"We discussed the borders issue, and Lebanon is willing to act positively in that regard, based on preserving our rights, our land and our sovereignty," Bassil said, stressing that "political and diplomatic victory is equal to any other victory, without compromising any oil or gas resources. We will make the necessary efforts to reach a decent agreement."

"We have affirmed our commitment to Resolution 1701, so as to maintain calm in the South and stop the Israeli aggressions, in light of Lebanon's sacred right to defend itself," said the minister.

"The New Zealand attack confirms that extremism generates extremism and tolerance, paralleled with international law, is the cure for that extremism," he asserted.

"I have raised the issue of displaced Syrians and explained to Pompeo its danger on the existentiality of Lebanon and the unique Lebanese model. Our request is to support Lebanon with a safe and dignified return, without it being voluntary. We are welcoming the displaced, but it is time for their return. This is for the benefit of Lebanon," he stressed, affirming that Lebanon refuses to interfere in other countries internal affairs.

"We talked about Hezbollah and we stressed that it is a non-terrorist Lebanese party and its deputies are elected by the people and with great popular support. Categorizing the party as terrorist does not concern Lebanon. We abide by our national unity, and this hence preserves our ties with the United States," Bassil said.

"We consider the stability of Lebanon and the maintenance of its unity in the interest of Lebanon and the United States alike, as well as a regional and international benefit, for there is an interest in safeguarding Lebanon as a model in the face of terrorism."

"Lebanon will remain unique in its pluralism, rebellion and freedom. It will never be a haven for terrorism but a resistance to it. (...) Preserve its friendship and its stability so we can work together for its flourishing," Bassil concluded.

Source: National News Agency