Foreign Minister Bob Carr today met visiting Lebanese Member of Parliament, Samy Gemayel in Canberra.

This follows the visit by Lebanese President Sleiman last month, the first official visit to Australia by an incumbent President of Lebanon.

Senator Carr said he had long standing links with the Lebanese community during his 20 years as a political leader in NSW.

Senator Carr said he and Mr Gemayel discussed the long-standing and warm relationship between Australia and Lebanon.

Mr Gemayel is the son of former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel.

“As Premier of New South Wales I developed a strong relationship with the Lebanese community.

“The Australian-Lebanese community in Australia is large with around 350,000 Australians of Lebanese origin and 75,000 Lebanese-born people residing in Australia.

“Australians of Lebanese descent have made significant contributions to Australian society, including NSW Governor Professor Marie Bashir and Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour.

“During our meeting, Mr Gemayel also highlighted the current regional challenges faced by Lebanon, in particular, his concerns about the situation in southern Lebanon as events in Syria unfold,” Senator Carr said.

During President Sleiman’s visit in April, Prime Minister Gillard announced a $1 million contribution to support de-mining activities in Lebanon and an additional contribution of $73,500 to the National Visiting Professional Program at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.



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