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Lebanon to attend Russia-backed talks on Syria

June 19, 2019
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Russia's special presidential envoy to Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, speaks during a press conference after meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, at the Lebanese foreign ministry in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, June 19, 2019. Lavrentiev invited Lebanon to attend as an observer the next Moscow-backed meeting seeking a political solution in Syria to be held in Kazakh capital in July. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s president says his country is eager to take part in Russia-backed political meetings on the Syrian war because it wants to monitor efforts that may accelerate the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees in living in Lebanon.

Michel Aoun says, however, that his country’s participation doesn’t negate its right to separately work out with Syria ways to regulate the return of Syrian refugees from Lebanon, while others seek lasting political solutions.

Lebanon is host to over 1 million Syrian refugees, the highest per capita concentration in the world.

Russia’s presidential special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, invited Lebanon on Wednesday to attend as an observer the next meeting held in the capital of Kazakhstan in July.

Lavrentiev said creating conditions for refugees’ return is everyone’s responsibility, not just Syria.

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