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Foreign Minister Murray McCully has today welcomed Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to New Zealand.

Lebanon is an important partner for New Zealand in the Middle East. During our term on the UN Security Council, we engaged closely with Lebanon on regional issues, including the war in Syria.

Since 1954, New Zealand has contributed to the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) which helps maintain peace in the region. The current commander of UNTSO is a New Zealander.

Lebanon currently hosts over 1 million Syrian refugees, and in 2015-16 New Zealand contributed $2.6 million to four Syrian refugee projects in Lebanon.

During Minister Bassil’s visit he will meet for talks with Minister McCully, the Middle East Business Council, and host receptions for the Lebanese communities in Auckland and Wellington.

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