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Russia will continue helping Lebanon
Russia will continue helping Lebanon, President Vladimir Putin said meeting Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad al-Siniora in the Kremlin on Friday. “We for our part will do all we can to support the Lebanese people in the restoration of the economy and infrastructure for the development of normal economic ties,” he said. Putin expressed concern over the situation in Lebanon. “We watched with great dismay the development of events during the conflict that broke out between Israel and Lebanon. The hard internal political situation that has emerged in Lebanon causes no lesser worry. I hope that our Lebanese friends will be able to resolve all internal problems realizing responsibility to the people of Lebanon,” Putin said. The Lebanese prime minister thanked Putin for Russia’s help to Lebanon, in particular in the infrastructure restoration. “I want to express gratitude on behalf of the Lebanese people for the assistance that Russia gives to Lebanon in all fields – economic, humanitarian, in the restoration of the country,” al-Siniora said. “I would like to thank you for all you have done for straightening the situation that has been a result of the latest Israeli attack and for the work on the adoption of the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1701,” he added. Al-Siniora stressed Russia’s assistance in the restoration of bridges that link different parts of Lebanon. He personally thanked a commander of a Russian bridge building battalion, Colonel Yevgeny Zhukov, who lead the construction operations in Lebanon and was invited to the Kremlin meeting. Putin in turn said that he knew of hospitality of the Lebanese. “The battalion commander told me how benevolently the local population met our servicemen," he said. Putin said that the Russia battalion was multiethnic and included military servicemen from Chechnya who did protective guarding of it. “As this unit was fully made of Muslims, this also made a certain contribution to building good relations. The attitude of local citizens to all military servicemen was very kind regardless of a nationality. These relations between ordinary citizens is the best basis for development of interstate ties,” Putin said. Russia is a reliable friend and partner, which can give real help to the Mideast settlement and the reconstruction of Lebanon, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said after a Friday meeting with President Vladimir Putin and Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov. He thanked Moscow for the negotiations on behalf of the Lebanese government and himself. “The negotiations were very useful,” he said. “This is another proof to the possible role of Russia in the Middle East and stronger bilateral relations.”
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