EU Official Calls for Deeper Cooperation with Lebanon to Fight Terrorism

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The European commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management has said that terrorism is a common enemy with Lebanon, adding that the presence of European troops in southern Lebanon would be discussed during a meeting in Brussels.

“We have a common enemy which is terrorism,” Christos Stylianides told An Nahar daily in an interview published on Monday.

“It is beneficial to have deeper cooperation in that regard,” he said.

“Terrorist attacks are not against a certain religion or civilization. We have a common enemy and people are assaulting our joint legacy,” he added.

Stylianides revealed that the role of European peacekeepers in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon would be the subject of discussion at the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.

He made the revelation after he was asked whether he had fears on the European military presence in southern Lebanon.

A Spanish peacekeeper was killed on Wednesday in the deadliest escalation on the disputed frontier since the 2006 war between Hizbullah and Israel.

The violence erupted when Hizbullah fighters attacked an Israeli military convoy in the Shebaa Farms area, killing two soldiers and wounding seven. Israel responded with shelling.

Stylianides announced on Saturday that the EU is providing 37 million euros ($42 million) to help Lebanon cope with the Syrian refugees.

He told reporters in the eastern Bekaa Valley during a visit that “Lebanon is not alone. The European Union stands by the government and the people of Lebanon.”

The U.N. refugees agency has said there are at least 1,150,000 registered Syrian refugees, a quarter the size of Lebanon’s own population of 4.5 million.

In his interview with An Nahar, Stylianides said that the EU has been facing the most demanding humanitarian crisis since World War II as a result of 12 million refugees.

“Those 12 million people are the victim of misery and are very close to the European border,” he said.

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