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Germany

Germany Helping Lebanon Improve Border Security with Syria

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman met with Germany's Angela Merkel to discuss moving forward the Mideast peace process. Suleiman said Lebanon was ready to help investigate the murder of its former PM Rafik Hariri.

symbolic image of cooperation between germany and lebanon with paper cut out of figures linking hands and national flags in background

Suleiman's Berlin trip is his third to a European country participating in UNIFIL.

Germany and Lebanon are working on a pilot project to improve security along Lebanon's border with Syria, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

A bilateral commission was also looking into ways to promote economic prosperity for Lebanese in the border region, she said at a news conference after talks with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman.

The two leaders discussed the new political situation in Lebanon following last May's Doha trade agreement, which ended a week of bitter fighting between followers of the anti-Syrian ruling majority and the opposition led by the fundamentalist Hezbollah.

Suleiman said that his country hoped to exchange ambassadors with Syria by the end of the year. He added that Lebanon was willing to assist the international tribunal investigating the killing of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, which is due to start on March 1.

"We are ready to do everything which will be of help to this tribunal," Suleiman said, adding that it should concentrate on legal issues and not become embroiled in politics.

Merkel also expressed the hope that the new US administration of President-elect Barack Obama would help move forward the Mideast peace process by taking over from where last year's Annapolis conference left off.

Suleiman has visited 11 states in the five months since taking office. The two-day trip to Berlin is his third visit to a European country participating in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon(UNIFIL).

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