Baird Meets Lebanese PM, Has 'Deep Concern' For Syria

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JOHN BAIRD
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird addresses Canadian and Filipino businessmen at a luncheon forum at the financial district of Makati city east of Manila, Philippines Wednesday, July 18, 2012. Baird is in Manila for talks with President Benigno Aquino III and other top Philippine officials to strengthen long-standing relations between the two countries. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) | AP

OTTAWA - The instability posed by the ongoing unrest in Syria was a major topic of discussion when Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird met with Lebanon's prime minister on Friday.

John Baird had praise for Prime Minister Najib Mikati for Lebanon's acceptance of Syrian refugees trying to escape the violence in their country.

The two men discussed the potential threat posed by chemical weapons they say the regime of Bashar Assad has amassed, Baird said in a news release.

“We share a deep concern over the risk posed to Syria’s neighbours by the Assad regime’s stockpile of chemical weapons," Baird said in the release.

"It is now more important than ever that the international community act decisively and in unison to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis before instability and chaos spread throughout the region."

Baird also met with Lebanon's opposition leader during his visit Friday.

Baird will get a first-hand look at the refugee problem on Saturday when he visits a refugee camp in Jordan.

The U-N refugee agency says some 10,000 Syrians had been living in four overcrowded transit centres near the Jordan-Syria border, with as many as 1,500 new refugees arriving each night.

Baird will also meet with his Jordanian counterpart.

Fighting continued unabated on Friday in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, but rebels indicated they were running low on ammunition and guns. They appealed to the international community to send weapons.

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