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22:32 GMT +3 hours18 December 2014
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Russia welcomes diplomatic ties between Syria and Lebanon

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Russia welcomes the establishment of diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday.
MOSCOW, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia welcomes the establishment of diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday.

On October 15, Lebanon and Syria formally established diplomatic ties for the first time in their modern history.

"We hail the move, which, undoubtedly, will benefit neighborly and equal relations between the two peoples and states and will improve the atmosphere in inter-Arabian relations and in the Middle East on the whole," Andrei Nesterenko said.

Lebanon and Syria initially decided to establish diplomatic relations on August 13, during an official visit by the Lebanese president to Damascus.

Lebanon became an independent state in 1943, two years before Syria.

Following the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, in 2005, Syria gave in to international pressure and pulled its troops out of Lebanon, after having a military presence in the neighboring state for almost three decades.

In addition to Hariri's death, anti-Syrian factions in Lebanon have blamed Damascus for a series of attacks targeting lawmakers and politicians opposed to Syria since 2005. Syria has denied the allegations.