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Shouhayib convenes with Ambassador of New Zealand, calls for help from international community with refugee crisis

Caretaker Minister of Agriculture, Akram Shouhayib, met at his office on Monday Ambassador of New Zealand residing in Cairo, Barney Riley.

The top officials discussed current situation in Lebanon and the region as well as means of bolstering agricultural ties between both countries.

"Despite all challenges, the current situation in Lebanon is still better than it is in neighboring countries," said the Minister, adding that the election of a president had a lot to do with bettering the domestic situation.

"However, this doesn't mean that Lebanon is not affected by the explosive and dangerous situation in the region. This requires all factions to prioritize public interest by offering compromises for the sake of forming a Cabinet."

Shouhayib explained that regional wars negatively affected the agriculture of Lebanon due to the shutting down of land borders to Lebanon's agricultural exports to the Arab world.

"But the most dire consequence on Lebanon...is the massive number of Syrian refugees which exacerbated socio-economic pressures in a way that goes beyond Lebanon's capabilities to handle."

The Minister called upon the international community and international organizations to aid Lebanon with this crisis.

On a more agricultural note, Shouhayib stressed the importance of cooperating with New Zealand, particularly in opening up the market to Lebanese honey, olives and wine.

In turn, the Ambassador voiced his country's readiness to support such projects, which would benefit both countries.

Source: National News Agency