Foreign relations of Lebanon

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politics and government of

The foreign policy of Lebanon reflects its geographic location, the composition of its population, and its reliance on commerce and trade. Until 2005, Lebanon's foreign policy had been heavily influenced by Syria. The framework for relations was first codified in May 1991, when Lebanon and Syria signed a treaty of mutual cooperation. This treaty came out of the Taif Agreement, which stipulated that "Lebanon is linked to Syria by distinctive ties deriving strength from kinship, history, and common interests." The Lebanese-Syria treaty calls for "coordination and cooperation between the two countries" that would serve the "interests of the two countries within the framework of sovereignty and independence of each." Numerous agreements on political, economic, security, and judicial affairs have followed over the years.

After Syria's military withdrawal in 2005, Lebanon's foreign policy charted a more independent course. Although its current government's policy can be considered Western-leaning if not pro-Western, the political opposition led by Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement advocate a foreign policy more in line with that of Iran and Syria.

Middle East

Lebanon also has bilateral trade agreements with several Arab states and is in the process of accession to the World Trade Organization. Lebanon traditionally enjoys warm relations with other pro-Western Arab states. At various times, however, it has seen tension with Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Libya. In March 2002, in honor of the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the South of the country, the Arab League met in Lebanon for the first time since 1967. Lebanon also is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Hezbollah maintains a close relationship with Iran, largely centered on Shi'a Muslim links and animosity towards Israel.


See Foreign relations of Cyprus


See Iran–Lebanon relations


Lebanon and Iraq share the same language and mutual support for each other in conflicts, Lebanon's relations with Iraq have at most times been cold. Issues include the Lebanese Government's strong material and political assistance of Hezbollah and ongoing clashes in Baghdad between the Sunnis and Shias. Despite this tension, the two nations have embassies in each of their capital cities.


Lebanon claims Israeli controlled Shebaa Farms in southern Syria.

According to current Lebanese officials, Lebanon will be the last Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel as the two states are officially in a state of war. The already strained relations between the two countries have deteriorated to an abysmal point in the 2006 war, a move which many believe to have strained US-Lebanese relations.

 Saudi Arabia

The relationship between these two Arab countries are very strong.

In 2008, the Saudi Foreign Minister, prince Saud Al Faisal secretly proposed setting up an Arab military force to fight Hezbollah in Lebanon with the help of the United States, UN and NATO. According to leaked diplomatic memos, Faisal has accused the UN troops in Lebanon of "sitting doing nothing", and voiced concerns that Iran will use Hezbollah to take over Lebanon.[1]


The relationship between these two neighboring countries in Western Asia is complex: Syria has had troops stationed in Lebanon and has exerted political influence in the nation for many years.[2] However, Syria has only officially recognised Lebanon's sovereignty recently.[3]


Lebanon concluded negotiations on an association agreement with the European Union in late 2001, and both sides initialed the accord in January 2002, the accord becoming known as the EU-Lebanon Association Agreement. The EU-Lebanon Action Plan from 19 January 2007 gave a new impetus to bilateral relations in the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy.

Lebanon is one of the main Mediterranean beneficiaries of community assistance and the EU through its various instruments is Lebanon’s leading donor. Starting from 2007 financial support is channeled through the European Neighborhood Policy Instrument. A Lebanon Country Strategy Paper 2007-2013 and a National Indicative Program 2007-2010 have been adopted by the EU. The assistance provided was refocused after the Second Lebanon War in order to engage in real help for the government and the society in reconstruction and reform of the country.[4]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Armenia 1992-03-04
  • Armenia has embassy in Beirut.
  • Lebanon has an embassy in Yerevan.

Lebanon is host to the eighth largest Armenian population in the world. During the 2006 Lebanon War, Armenia announced that it would send humanitarian aid to Lebanon. According to the Armenian government, an unspecified amount of medicines, tents and fire-fighting equipment was allocated to Lebanese authorities on July 27, 2006.[5][6] On May 11, 2000, the Lebanese parliament voted to recognize the Armenian genocide.[7] Lebanon is the first Arab country and one of the few countries of the world to have done so.

 Bulgaria 1966-09-19
 France See France–Lebanon relations

In 2007, French President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered ties with Syria to be suspended until proof Damascus was not interfering in the Lebanese political crisis was established.[12] A week after Sarkozy's statement in Cairo, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Muallem announced Syria was ceasing their ties with France.[13] "Syria has decided to cease cooperation with France on the Lebanese crisis" said Mouallem. In July 2008, France and Syria decided to open embassies in each other's countries.[14] In April 2009, French and Lebanese officials approved the framework of a security agreement that besides improving bilateral relations include drugs and arms trafficking, illegal immigration and cyber-crime.[15]

 Greece See Greece–Lebanon relations

The relation between both people dates back to early antiquity, with the early trading activities between the ancient Greeks and the Phoenicians. In modern times, Greek-Lebanese bilateral relations are very good at all levels. Greece has an embassy in Beirut and Lebanon has an embassy in Athens. Both countries are members of the Union for the Mediterranean and the Francophonie.

 Holy See 1947 See Holy See – Lebanon relations

The Holy See has a nunciature in Harissa. Lebanon has an embassy in Rome. The Holy See has played a major role in the peace negotiations of Lebanon. It has sought to unify Christian factions that were separated after the Lebanese civil war. At the same time, it sought to reduce Christian-Muslim tensions and to preserve Christian communities that have been declining in many parts of Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East.

 Italy See Italy–Lebanon relations

Lebanon opened a legation in 1946, which was transformed into an embassy in 1955. Both countries signed a Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Navigation in 1949. Rome supported the reconstruction of Lebanon after the Taef Agreement. Also, Italian companies, from almost all sectors, operate in Lebanon.

 Russia See Lebanon–Russia relations
  • Lebanon has an embassy in Moscow.
  • Russia has an embassy in Beirut.
  • Russia will donate 10 Mi 24 attack helicopters to the Lebanese Army

Rest of the World

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Australia See Australian Embassy Website
  • Lebanon enjoys friendly relations with Australia. Lebanon has an embassy in Canberra and Australia has an embassy in Beirut. Lebanon Has Consultant offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
  • 74,000 Lebanese-born people live in Australia, mainly in Sydney, and there are more people of Lebanese descent including Marie Bashir, Steve Bracks and Hazem El Masri.
  • Australia has a modest trade relationship with Lebanon and has also given foreign aid in the aftermath of the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990.
 Canada See Canada–Lebanon relations

Canada established diplomatic relations with Lebanon in 1954, when Canada deployed "Envoy Extraordinaire" to Beirut. In 1958, Canada sent its first Ambassador. The Embassy was closed in 1985 and reopened in January 1995. Lebanon opened a consulate in Canada in 1946. A Consulate-General replaced the Consulate in 1949, and an Embassy opened in 1958.

 Malaysia See Lebanon–Malaysia relations
 Mexico12 June 1945 See Lebanon–Mexico relations
  • Mexico was among the first nations to recognize Lebanon's independence in 1943.
  • Lebanon has an embassy in Mexico City.[20]
  • Mexico has an embassy in Beirut.[21]
  • Mexico was a popular destination during the Lebanese diaspora. There is a significant population of Lebanese descent in Mexico, nearing half a million people, many of which travel to and support business with Lebanon.
  • The Centro Libanés and "Club Deportivo Libanés" in Mexico City are important symbols representing the historically cultural and social ties between both countries.
 Pakistan See Lebanon–Pakistan relations
  • Pakistan does not recognize Lebanon's arch enemy, Israel as a legitimate country.[22]
  • Lebanon has an embassy in Islamabad
  • Pakistan has an embassy in Beirut
 South Korea12 February 1981[23] See Foreign relations of South Korea

The Republic of Korea and Lebanon Trade Statistics from 2007 to 2012.[24]

 United States See Lebanon – United States relations

The United States' interaction with Lebanon extends back to events such as the 1958 Lebanon crisis, which it sent in troops to fortify the government's position. Lebanon's southern neighbor, Israel, has also sent troops on several occasions, and attacked into Lebanon in response to Hezbollah kidnapping two Israeli soldiers. A possible source of friction between the U.S. and Lebanon is that most of Israel's weaponry is US-made, arguing possible US complicity in Israel's attacks.

 Uruguay1945-10-25 See Lebanon–Uruguay relations
  • Uruguay recognized Lebanon's independence on November 22, 1943.
  • Lebanon has an embassy in Montevideo.
  • Uruguay has an embassy in Beirut.[25]
  • There are 55,000 people of Lebanese descent living in Uruguay.

See also

References and footnotes

  • Eisenberg, Laura Zittrain; Caplan, Neil (1998). Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: Patterns, Problems, Possibilities. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-21159-X. 
  • Schiff, Ze'ev; Ya'ari , Ehud (1984). Israel's Lebanon War. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-47991-1. 
  • Shlaim, Avi (2001). The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-32112-6. 
  1. Saudi plan for anti-Hezbollah force revealed, AFP and Ynet, 12 August 2010
  2. "BBC NEWS - Middle East - Q&: Syria and Lebanon". Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  3. Ten steps to Syria-Lebanon ties BBC News
  4. Republic of Lebanon. European Commission: External Relations
  5. Armenia To Provide Relief To Lebanon,
  6. Armenia Sent Humanitarian Assistance To Lebanon, PanArmenian.Net
  7. International Affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, Armenia Foreign Ministry
  8. Bulgarian embassy in Beirut
  9. Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: direction of the Lebanese embassy in Sofia
  10. Libanon Danske kontaktoplysninger
  11. "Lebanon Embassy in Stockholm". Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  12. "France to cut Syria ties over Lebanon presidential crisis". Haaretz. 30 December 2007. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  13. "France and Syria divorce over Lebanon crises". Ya Libnan. LB. 2 January 2008. Retrieved 21 August 20131. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  14. "International News". ABC news. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  15. "Naharnet — Lebanon's leading news destination". Naharnet. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  16. "Ministerul Afacerilor Externe". Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  17. "Ministerul Afacerilor Externe". Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  18. "Lebanese Embassies, Missions, Consulates, Honorary Consulates abroad" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of the Republic of Lebanon. p. 13. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  19. "Official Website of Embassy of Malaysia, Beirut". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  20. "Bienvenido - Embajada de Líbano en México". Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  21. "Bienvenidos a la portada". Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  22. Messages to Lebanon Pakistan MOFA
  25. "Embajada del URUGUAY Líbano". Retrieved 21 February 2015.

External links

Representations of foreign nations in Lebanon

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