Russian President Vladimir Putin received on Wednesday Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri at the Kremlin.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Putin's adviser for international affairs Yury Ushakov, the Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin and Hariri's advisor for Russian Affairs Georges Chaaban attended.
At the beginning of the meeting, President Putin welcomed Prime Minister Hariri. He congratulated him on his designation to form the government and said: "You have the task of forming the new government. We have to continue enhancing trade exchange between the two countries, especially that there is a shortage in this area, and we must make efforts to augment this exchange. We also have to intensify the work of the Joint Governmental Committee, and within this committee, there are Russian companies working actively and intensive work in other fields."
Hariri said : "I am very happy to be here and to meet with you to discuss several issues. The economic relations between Lebanon and Russia are below the required level, but there is some progress, and through follow-up we will make more progress, especially in the next government.
I want to congratulate Russia on hosting the World Cup and I look forward to further discuss the regional issues."
After the meeting, Prime Minister Hariri told journalists: "I was honored to meet with President Putin today. We talked about various issues concerning Lebanon, the region and the bilateral relations. We also talked about the Syrian refugees and their return to Syria and Russia's help in this regard, especially concerning Law number 10. It was extended for one year but must be further clarified. The Syrian regime has to explain this issue better, so as not to suggest that the refugees in Lebanon are not entitled to return to Syria. The rights of the Syrian refugees in their country must be permanent and no one should take them away. We spoke at length about this and the region's affairs."
Question: Some say that you are taking your time in forming the government, what is your purpose?
Hariri: There is no purpose. We are at the end of the holy month of Ramadan and there is a holiday. I would have liked to form the government before the Eid, but we all know that each of the political parties has ambitions, and we are talking to everyone until we reach a solution. I am not afraid of a delay in the formation of the government. But there was the month of Ramadan as well as the ambitions of some political parties. We should think about productivity and not about how many minister we can have.
Question: It seems that the president, speaker and yourself support Brazil in football. There are Arab teams playing. Do you think they will achieve good results?
Hariri: Tomorrow, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is playing. Egypt also is among the teams that have good chances. We wish everyone victory. I support Brazil since I was a child, but if there are Arab states participating, we are certainly with the Arab countries."
Source: National News Agency