From 9 to 13 April 2018, a Monegasque delegation* led by Gilles Tonelli, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, paid a working visit to Lebanon in order to strengthen friendly ties and cooperation between the two nations.
During the visit, the Monegasque delegation was received by the Lebanese President Mr Michel Aoun.
Other meetings with the Lebanese authorities** provided an opportunity to discuss the partnerships supported by Monaco’s Official Development Assistance in the fields of health, education and socio-economic inclusion of the most vulnerable groups.
While in Lebanon, Gilles Tonelli signed a memorandum of understanding with the MENA Regional Director of the European Institute of Cooperation and Development (IECD) Nicolas Pinton to support micro businesses in North Lebanon.
At the invitation of the Mérieux Foundation, Lebanese NGO Amel and the Municipality of Douris, supported by Monaco, the Minister also took part in the official ceremony to lay the foundation stone for a Mother and Baby Health Centre in Douris. This Centre in the Beqaa Valley will help to improve maternal and child health in the region.
Bilateral cooperation between Monaco and Lebanon began in 1993. Given the current crisis in Syria and international mobilisation to support Lebanon, the Principality was keen to steer some of the increase in its international development aid towards helping the country. Lebanon currently hosts more refugees compared with its national population than any other country (there is one refugee for every three Lebanese citizens).
* The Monegasque delegation comprised: Gilles Tonelli, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Bechara K. El Khoury, Honorary Consul of Monaco to Lebanon, Bénédicte Schutz, Director of International Cooperation, Emilie Larese-Silvestre, Programme Coordinator for the Department of International Cooperation, Elodie Martin, Lebanon Programme Manager for the Department of International Cooperation, and Joseph Hayek, a colleague of Monaco’s Consul to Lebanon.
** Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Minister of Public Health and Deputy Prime Minister Ghassan Hasbani, Minister of Foreign Affairs Gebran Bassil, Minister of Education and Higher Education Marwan Hamadeh, North Lebanon Governor Ramzi Nohra, and Baalbek–Hermel Governor Bachir Khodr.