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Minister Shatter Meets with the Lebanese Minister for Defence as Part of his Middle East Programme

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter, met with Mr. Fayez Ghosen, the Lebanese Minister for Defence. They had detailed discussions on the continuing role of UNIFIL in South Lebanon and Ireland’s ongoing commitment in the region, acknowledging that currently the area in South Lebanon is quiet and remains peaceful.

The discussions also focused on issues confronting Lebanon including the estimated four hundred thousand Syrians who have come to Lebanon as a result of the conflict and Lebanon’s need for financial assistance and support from the EU to make appropriate provision for the refugees from the conflict. The Ministers also discussed the possible future impact on Lebanon of the continuing conflict in Syria, its potential impact on the political and security situation within Lebanon and the Lebanese parliamentary elections which are due to take place in June.

The Minister emphasised not only Ireland’s but also other EU States concerns that the current stability be maintained. The Minister also informed Minister Ghosen of the discussion taking place with EU Justice Ministers on the refugee crisis and supports that the EU is committed to providing to assist countries neighbouring Syria who are dealing with very large numbers of Refugees resulting from the ongoing conflict.
Minister Ghosen thanked the Minister for the ongoing work in which Irish troops are engaged in continuing to keep peace in the region both in his role of Irish Minister for Defence and also in the context of Irelands Presidency of the EU.

Following the meeting Minister Shatter said “My meeting with Minister Ghosen, during my visit to the Middle East, has provided me with an important and comprehensive insight into the security and political issues in the region from the perspective of the Lebanese Government and that has been very useful. Lebanon is currently stable having been through many difficult times in past years. Notwithstanding some current domestic political difficulties, the clear perception I have from my discussions is of a Government that is keen to maintain the current stability within Lebanon. I believe it is important that the International community is constructively engaged in assisting the Lebanese Government to maintain that stability, conscious of the threats posed by the continuing conflict in Syria. On my return to Dublin I will be briefing my colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs on my discussions and also my Justice Ministerial colleagues in the EU on Lebanon’s enormous burden resulting from the Syrian refugee crisis”.


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