Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met Monday with Mohammad Raad, the head of the Hezbollah bloc in the Lebanese parliament. 

Lavrov and Raad discussed the situation in Lebanon and the Middle East in general, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following the meeting.

“Sergey Lavrov confirmed Russia’s consistent line in support of the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Lebanon. He stressed the need to address pressing issues on the national agenda through a broad dialogue involving representatives of all the leading religious groups in Lebanese society exclusively in the legal field and without foreign interference,” the ministry said.

The minister also stressed the urgent need to form a new government headed by Saad Hariri that is capable of ensuring Lebanon’s exit from the current crisis.

Speaking about Syria, Lavrov stressed the importance of the repatriation of Syrian refugees, including those from Lebanon, “in the interests of reliable stabilization in the region.”

“Lavrov stressed Russia’s unwavering commitment to achieving a comprehensive peace in the Middle East in accordance with the existing international legal framework,” the ministry said.

Lavrov and Raad also spoke about Russian -Lebanese bilateral cooperation, including in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Apart from Lavrov, Raad also met with his deputy responsible for the Middle East and North Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov.

Raad’s visit came several days after Lavrov’s return from a tour to Arab countries, in which he met with former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Lebanon has been in a political crisis since a massive explosion rocked the port of Beirut in 2020. After the incident, the government resigned, and since then, the country has not been able to form a new government.

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