Malta and Lebanon to intensify relations – Minister Vella holds political talks in Beirut

Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella held talks with his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil. This is Minister Vella’s first visit to Lebanon since taking office as Foreign Minister in 2013, but not his first meeting with Minister Bassil. The discussion primarily focused on regional issues, particularly those in Syria and Libya.

The issue of migration was discussed at length with both Ministers describing how their countries have been dealing with influxes on two different migratory routes. Minister Vella commended Lebanon’s very early action to provide assistance to refugees from Syria and expressed Malta’s readiness to support international initiatives that assist the country in resolving the resulting challenges.

In commenting about Malta-Lebanon relations, Minister Vella underlined the potential between both countries in the commercial and services fields. He also referred to the crucial role that the two could play in bringing stability to their respective regions. Malta, Minister Vella stated, will continue to fully support closer EU-Lebanon relations.

Foreign Minister Bassil referred to Lebanon’s interest in cooperating with regional partners in addressing the expansion of ISIS. He stated that Lebanon looks forward to increased engagement with the EU on this front.

Ministers Vella and Bassil agreed to meet again in the coming months to take relations to a deeper level ofengagement, especially in the run up to Malta’s EU Presidency term. The two Ministers also proceeded with their discussion during a meeting later on in the day led by their respective Prime Ministers.