On the 2nd and 3rd October, the European Union and the Republic of Lebanon held high-level meetings in Beirut on a range of subjects including Human Rights, Democracy and Governance issues, as well as on Security and Justice. These meetings took place as part of the regular political dialogue foreseen under the EU-Lebanon Association Agreement of 2006 and the EU-Lebanon Partnership Priorities agreed in November 2016.
The meetings were jointly chaired by H.E. Ambassador Hani CHEMAITELLY Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, and H.E. Ambassador Colin SCICLUNA Deputy Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the European External Action Service (EEAS).
The meetings took place at a time when Lebanon and the EU continue to strengthen their partnership to meet many common challenges, including those resulting from the ongoing regional conflicts in the Middle East. The two sides conducted a comprehensive and frank political dialogue and pledged to deepen their cooperation.
On the first day, the meeting covered issues of mutual interest on the bilateral, regional and international level, including the situation in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, governance and the rule of law and multilateral cooperation. On the second day, the focus was on security challenges, including counterterrorism as well as judicial cooperation.
The two sides acknowledged that the ongoing situation in the region and worldwide, including extremism, is a major challenge for the international community. They reaffirmed their shared values of human rights and their commitment to uphold the rules-based international system.
The two sides also took stock of the achievements in the last years and the state of play or outcomes of a number of EU-funded projects in the fields of relevance. Besides ongoing regular dialogue, the meetings in Beirut helped identify a number of issues for further cooperation which will be explored in more depth.
Furthermore, the two sides assessed the positive work done so far to follow up on each of the three important international events organized in 2018 to support Lebanon, specifically, the conference of Rome held in March related to security, the conference of Paris concerning the economic development of Lebanon, and the conference of Brussels regarding the impact of the Syrian crisis, both held in April. The EU and Lebanon agreed to work closer together in implementing the mutually agreed commitments arising from those events.
The EU expressed its strong wish to work closely with the new government, once formed, in order to meet these challenges in a true spirit of partnership for the benefit of the Lebanese people and the public institutions.
Lebanon reaffirmed that a strong partnership based on a common understanding of mutual interests can help spur sustainable solutions for common challenges, and emphasized the importance of a strong continuous dialogue.