Voicing the Levant country as “the key to the stability in the Middle East,” Italian President Sergio Mattarella urged international support for Lebanon.
According to a source in the Italian presidency, Mattarella, and Lebanese President Michel Aoun discussed the dire economic situation in Lebanon and the pressing need for Syrian refugees to return to their homeland during a meeting in Rome.
On the same day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to the Italian Parliament via video link, and the Lebanese foreign affairs minister, Abdullah Bou Habib, was present at the Quirinale Palace meeting.
“Lebanon is the key to the stability of the Middle East,” Mattarella told Aoun. “Because of this, the international community must provide a great deal of support and solidarity to the country in order to ensure its own security and overcome the serious and urgent political, economic, and humanitarian issues,” Mattarella further expressed.
As part of their discussions, Aoun and Mattarella also touched on the crisis in Ukraine, as well as the situation in Yemen and Libya, as well as Iran’s nuclear negotiations.
As a result of the conflict in Ukraine, Aoun predicted “a grim future” for Lebanon, according to the Italian daily La Repubblica.
“Our internal political situation necessitates that the food safety crisis is given top priority,” Aoun explained.
He predicted that the conflict would make it more difficult for Lebanon to get its grain supplies, as the country gets 70 percent of its grain needs from Ukraine and Russia. According to Aoun, Lebanon “absolutely needs support, especially with regard to its food needs, because we are currently in a period of extreme poverty that particularly affects some segments of the population.”