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|January 8, 2010: Suleiman Concerned About Additional U.S. Screenings of Passengers from Lebanon (Naharnet Newsdesk)|
President Michel Suleiman expressed concern to a delegation from the U.S. Congress about additional screenings at U.S. airports of passengers from several countries, including Lebanon.
Following talks with Democrat Alcee Hastings, co-chairman of the congressional Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and his accompanying delegation, Suleiman said that he asked Lebanon's ambassador to Washington to follow up the issue with the Obama administration.
The president also stressed the importance of Israel's implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 and its withdrawal from all occupied Lebanese territories.
Hastings also met with Foreign Minister Ali Shami as part of a regional tour.
"The biggest issue for me as a leader is dealing with the subject of Iraq refugees," the U.S. official told reporters.
"Although that is not a critical issue of major consequence for Lebanon, it is for Syria and Jordan."
Millions of Iraqis have fled their country since the U.S.-led invasion almost seven years ago, most of them seeking refuge in nearby Syria and Jordan.
Between 14,000 and 21,000 Iraqi refugees now live in Lebanon, according to a Danish Refugee Council survey commissioned by the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.
U.S. Republican Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain was due in Lebanon later on Friday.
Friday's visit was Hastings' third to Lebanon.
The congressman made brief stops in Turkey and Syria before his arrival in Beirut. He is also due to visit Egypt.(Naharnet-AFP)
Beirut, 08 Jan 10, 14:49