Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held talks Thursday with President Michel Aoun at the Baabda Palace at the beginning of a three-day visit to Lebanon. After a bilateral meeting between the two leaders, the members of the Palestinian and Lebanese delegations joined the talks. “We agreed to coordinate stances and cooperate in a manner that serves the interests of our two countries and the causes of justice and peace for which we have offered dear sacrifices”, Aoun said at a joint press conference after the talks. “I stressed the importance of President Abbas’ role in preserving the stability of the (Palestinian refugee) camps so that they don’t turn into hubs for those seeking to take advantage of the Palestinian people’s plights” Aoun added, referring to extremist groups. Abbas stressed that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are only “guests”. The Palestinian leader vowed to exert all efforts possible to achieve “their certain return to their homeland Palestine”. Abbas also said the Palestinian factions are committed to preserving security in refugee camps around Lebanon and that they stand against terrorism in all its forms. By long-standing convention, the Lebanese army does not enter the twelve Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, leaving the Palestinian factions themselves to handle security.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun warned on Saturday that any Israeli attempt to violate Lebanon’s sovereignty would be met with the “appropriate response”, in a statement released by his office. It said Aoun was reacting to recent remarks in a letter at the United Nations by Israel’s U.N. ambassador Danny Danon, which amounted to a “masked attempt to threaten security and stability” in southern Lebanon, but did not say what the remarks were. Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said on Thursday that all of Lebanon would be a target if Hezbollah fired on Israel. Speaking in a meeting with visitors to the Baabda presidential palace, Aoun said on Saturday that Danon’s letter “constitutes a threat to Lebanon. The international community should be wary of Israel’s aggressive intentions against Lebanon”.
President Michel Aoun on Monday started his first visit to Cairo since his election in October and held talks with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. “Hopes of the role that Egypt could play are high. An Egypt of moderation and openness… could launch an Arab rescue initiative based on a strategy to fight terrorism,” Aoun said at a joint press conference. The two sides “agreed on the need to stand together against the dangers of terrorism,” Sisi said, adding that Egypt was ready “to support the capabilities of Lebanon’s army and its various security bodies”. On Tuesday, Aoun will visit Jordan at the invitation of Jordanian King Abdullah II.