Aoun Meets Russian President in Moscow

  • Local

President Michel Aoun met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Tuesday, with talks focusing on the latest developments in Lebanon and the Middle East.

The two men discussed the U.S. recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, with both of them condemning the move as negative for the region.

"This is the second time, after the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, that a country grants another country a land that doesn't belong to it," Aoun said during the meeting with his Russian counterpart.

"This is a worrisome move for all the countries neighboring Israel," he added.

"Such decisions undoubtedly have negative consequences from the point of view of a settlement in the Middle East and the general atmosphere of political settlement in Syria," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a statement issued earlier on Tuesday.

Aoun thanked the Russian president for defending Christian minorities in the Levant, hoping that this support would be maintained for them.

For his part, Putin reportedly hailed Lebanon as Russia's "old" and "traditional" partner in the Middle East, stressing that his country is keen to maintain relations with Lebanon's leadership and with representatives of all political forces.

Later, he hosted a lunch in honor of the Lebanese president and the accompanying delegation.

Ahead of his meeting with Putin, Aoun met with the speaker of the lower house of Russian parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, whom he told that it is in Europe’s interest to solve the refugee crisis because the difficult economic situation in Lebanon will force the displaced to find alternatives, and the European countries will be their first destination.