President of the Lebanese Republic Michel Aoun, welcomed at Baabda palace Thursday the UK’s Chief of the Defense Staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, accompanied by the British Ambassador to Lebanon, Chris Rampling.
The meeting also took place in the presence of Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Salim Jreissati, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported.
President Aoun informed General Carter of Lebanon’s full commitment to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 to maintain calm and stability in the southern border area, despite Israel’s recurrent violations of Lebanon’s land, sea and air.
Aoun hailed “the cooperation between the Lebanese army and international forces,” stressing that “defending ourselves against any Israeli aggression is our natural right.”
The President thanked General Carter for his country’s support for the Lebanese Army, especially in the domains of the building of watchtowers along the Lebanese-Syrian border and training the Lebanese military.
“These towers have contributed to enabling the army to monitor the border and control infiltration,” Aoun said, hailing these towers’ role in the ‘Fajr Al Jouroud’ battle, which ended with the eradication of terrorists from the Lebanese territories.
On the other hand, Aoun reiterated Lebanon’s position on the issue of the displaced Syrians and the need for their safe return to their country without waiting for a political solution that may be delayed.
Aoun gave briefing on the repercussions of the Syrian displacement on the entire Lebanese sectors.
“The dispute with Israel on the maritime border in the exclusive economic zone has not yet been resolved, but this will not prevent the commencement of oil and gas exploration in the blocks specified by the Lebanese government,” he said.
In turn, General Carter informed the President on the purpose of his visit to Lebanon, stressing UK’s continued support for the Lebanese army.
On Friday, Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab separately met with British Chief of the Defense Staff Sir Nick Carter and his accompanying delegation.
During the meeting, they discussed means of activating military cooperation between the two countries as well as issues of common interest.