President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, colleagues, representatives of the media,
Once again, I would like to say how pleased I am to have the President of Lebanon General Michel Sleiman here in Moscow on a state visit. In more than 65 years of diplomatic relations between our countries this is the first visit by a Lebanese leader to Russia. I would like to say that our talks, which have been friendly, open and business-like, are sure to give a new impetus to Russian-Lebanese relations.
The outcome of our meeting is the adoption of a special Joint Declaration on further developing friendly relations and cooperation between our countries. It outlines our countries' support for a multipolar world order, our willingness to comply with generally accepted principles and norms of international law, and our general desire to strengthen political dialogue and to foster multiple, multifaceted links in trade, economic and cultural spheres.
I would like to point out that, in recent years, our ties have taken on a very significant, positive momentum. We have great potential for growth in such areas as energy, investment, water management, maritime industry, tourism and the environment. In fact, we have just discussed all these issues with President Sleiman.
We already have good relations in military technical as well as search-and-rescue cooperation, and this was also one of the subjects of our negotiations. Our cultural ties and the development of relations in the fields of culture and education figure importantly in our contacts. We discussed these issues as well, and it is this sort of potential for growth that is bringing our countries closer together. Suffice it to say that, over the years that have elapsed since the establishment of diplomatic relations, about ten thousand Lebanese citizens have been educated in our country, and we hope that they too will contribute to the development of relations between our countries.
We discussed with Mr President various issues of regional and global security. This is certainly the most urgent topic in our exchanges, including the role of Lebanon as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2010 and 2011.
In this regard I told President Sleiman that Russia has always supported and will continue to support the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity and the territorial unity of the Lebanese Republic. In our view it is unacceptable to interfere in others' internal affairs. All the problems of a very complex, multi-religious country should be decided by the Lebanese themselves in accordance with their current constitution. And current political practice has shown the high degree of success that results from such policies. Naturally all this must be done through dialogue and with the consent of all political forces. And on a separate note I would like to stress that at this moment all this is happening due to the personal efforts and the authority of the Lebanese President.
Russia has always been and will continue to be a strong champion of unswerving compliance with the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and is in favour of the implementation of the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon.
We exchanged views on the situation in the Middle East. Of course this situation greatly concerns us. We believe that negotiations should continue – or, rather, in some cases simply be resumed — between Israel, the Palestinians, and other participants in the Middle East peace process based on the universally recognised principles of international law, the relevant UN resolutions, the so-called Madrid principles, and Arab peace initiative endorsed at the Arab League Summit in Beirut in 2002.
This will lead to a comprehensive, equitable, full-scale, long-term settlement in the Middle East and facilitate the eventual establishment of an independent viable Palestinian state, in order to ensure peace and security for all countries and peoples in this region.
Of course another question that must be on the agenda and which we also discussed today is how to deal with international terrorism. Our countries have repeatedly encountered this problem, and we have agreed on closer cooperation on both general issues and in specific instances to confront this global threat.
In conclusion, I would like to thank President Sleiman for the friendly and constructive dialogue. I hope that it will help strengthen relations between our countries and peoples.
I would like to wish Mr President and his colleagues a successful stay in Russia, and I expect that this first visit by the President of Lebanon to our country will contribute to the multifaceted and multidimensional strengthening of ties between our nations.