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German FM Steinmeier visits Lebanon to discuss Syrian refugee crisis

The German foreign minister has visited Beirut to discuss the Syrian refugee crisis and to support Lebanon in its efforts housing refugees. Steinmeier is hoping for a joint US-Russian initiative in the Syrian conflict.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Beirut on Friday, holding talks with Lebanese authorities on the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis.

The Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil asked for more support. Germany is one of the important countries “

which is fulfilling it commitments

. Even if all countries would fulfill their tasks, their help would not be sufficient for Lebanon,” he said after meeting Steinmeier in Beirut.

However, it is not “only about economic problems, we are confronted with a huge security challenge; the whole structure of the society here is in danger,” Bassil added. He called more efforts finding a political solution to the conflict.

“Nothing short of miraculous”

Steinmeier said he appreciated the Lebanese efforts in accepting Syrian refugees. He emphasized the Lebanese humanitarian service was “nothing short of miraculous,” housing about 1.5 million people. Steinmeier also said that Germany would not abandon Lebanon, adding his country had taken more than 100,000 Syrian refugees.

During his visit to Beirut, Steinmeier also visited a UNHCR community center in Beirut.

Steinmeier hopes for a joint American-Russian initiative

The German Foreign Minister expressed optimism over the outcome of a trip earlier this week by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Russia, saying he hoped “something arises which could lead to a new initiative in the near future.”

Kerry’s visit was the first by a US official to Russia since violence erupted in Ukraine last year.

ra/kms (AFP, dpa)

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