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Austrian FM vows more humanitarian support for Lebanon

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Beirut, Jan 13 (IANS) Visiting Austrian Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Schallenberg has said that his country will increase its humanitarian support for Lebanon and will continue to stand by the Lebanese people amid the current crisis, a statement by Lebanon’s presidency reported.

Schallenberg’s remarks came during his meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun at Baabda Palace on Wednesday, with whom he discussed the economic and political challenges facing Lebanon.

The Austrian Minister said that the European Union is ready to offer Lebanon massive economic assistance as soon as the country succeeds in reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He emphasised the pivotal role played by Aoun in pushing for the implementation of necessary reforms in a bid to overcome the current crisis, Xinhua news agency reported.

For his part, the Lebanese President said that both Lebanon and the IMF are willing to reach an agreement to help the country overcome its crisis.

He gave an overview about the various challenges facing Lebanon, including the presence of a large number of Syrian refugees in the country, calling on the Austrian official to assist Lebanon in securing a safe return of refugees to their homeland.

Aoun thanked Austria for its continuous support for Lebanon at different levels.

Schallenberg also met with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, House Speaker Nabih Berri and Foreign Affairs Minister Abdallah Bou Habib.

–IANS

int/khz/

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