Bassil from Barcelona: Protecting region’s social fabric a duty

APRIL 13, 2015 (REFERRING TO THE NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY – LEBANON) Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Gebran Bassil, considered Monday that “protecting the region’s social fabric, in its cultural, ethnic and religious diversity, is a duty and a basic path towards democracy and preservation of states’ unity.”

Gebran’s words came in his address at the conference on revising the European Neighborhood Policy, currently taking place at the Mediterranean Union’s headquarters in Barcelona.

“Our meeting in Barcelona 20 years following the development of the foundations of the European-Mediterranean cooperation in this ancient city is a message of important political meaning,” said Bassil, adding that “we are giving importance to the policy of the southern neighborhood of Europe, to be reflected in drafting a policy for promoting bilateral relations and cooperation.”

“Lebanon is committed to be a positive proactive country in the process of revising the European Neighborhood Policy, for which reason we have called for a ministerial meeting in Beirut upcoming June 23-24, which shall include the Arab countries concerned and the Arab League, with the participation of the European Union,” disclosed Bassil.

“This meeting will allow the chance to assess the outcome reached, and discuss the elements that must be included in the announcement next Fall over the strategic review of the European Neighborhood Policy,” he concluded.

At the sidelines of the conference, Minister Bassil met with his Italian Counterpart, Paulo Jantolini, during which talks focused on bilateral Lebanese-Italian relations and the regional situation, particularly the crisis in Syria and its impact on Lebanon. Ways of activating the economic and cultural relations between Lebanon and Italy, the prevailing situation in Libya, combating terrorism and preserving cultural diversity in the region, also featured high during their discussions.