West does not want refugees back in Syria: Lebanese FM to Al Mayadeen
The Lebanese FM says Lebanon has called and will continue to call on the Security Council to act to stop the Israeli violations of Resolution 1701 by land, sea, and air.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib pointed out that the Lebanese state does not want to prevent the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from carrying out patrols in South Lebanon.
However, in an interview for Al Mayadeen, Bou Habib stressed the need for coordination between UNIFIL and the Lebanese army regarding these patrols, given the tension that may occur with the people of the region.
The Lebanese Foreign Minister called on UNIFIL to hold tripartite meetings to set clear the [issue of] borders between Lebanon and occupied Palestine, as the situation is thorny today.
Bou Habib indicated that the Lebanese state has called and will continue to call on the Security Council to act to stop the Israeli violations of Resolution 1701 by land, sea, and air, vowing that the Lebanese state will not take action, unless "Israel" stops its violations.
The Lebanese Minister indicated that the ambassadors of the five major countries to Lebanon wanted to discuss the tent set in the Shebaa Farms, "and our answer was that talks should tackle the occupation of the Lebanese Shebaa Farms, rather than the tent."
Touching on the file of the displaced Syrians in Lebanon, Bou Habib said the countries of the European Union and the West do not want the Syrian refugees to return to Syria, stressing that these countries are working to keep them in the host countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.
He noted that the Syrian state welcomes the return of Syrians to their country, confirms that they will not be subjected to any harassment, and welcomes the international community to verify so.
"#Syria welcomes the return of #Syrians to their country, asserts that they will not be subjected to any harassment, and welcomes the international community if it wishes to verify so."— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) July 29, 2023
- Abdullah Bou Habib, #Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs#Lebanon #immigrants https://t.co/dCGDT31XoX
The top Lebanese diplomat said the Syrian state believes that the refugees' failure to return to their homeland is due to the money paid to them in the host country and to the destruction in Syria as a result of the war against it.
Bou Habib revealed that a committee was formed at the meeting of Arab foreign ministers consisting of five countries to follow up on the Syrian displacement file, explaining that the committee will hold its first meeting in mid-August in Cairo.
The Lebanese Foreign Minister pointed out that through the file of the displaced, the Western countries are aiming at the Syrian state, noting that these countries do not believe that the war in Syria is over and are still seeking to change the regime.
He revealed that when a group of Syrian immigrants arrived illegally on the shores of Cyprus, the latter's authorities contacted the Lebanese state to send them to Lebanon, but Lebanese authorities refused, noting that Cyprus cannot defy the European Union's decision and return them to Syria.
He added, "The European Union says that Syria is not safe for the return of the displaced, and we believe that this is not true."
Bou Habib mentioned that he had previously contacted his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad and told him that he was welcome in Lebanon at any time, "and that we would like to visit Syria at any time he agrees on."
He indicated that he met about a week ago with the Chargé d'Affairs at the Syrian embassy and expressed to him Lebanon's willingness to send a delegation to Syria to discuss regional and international files, as well as bilateral relations between the two countries, stressing that he was waiting for a response.
Regarding the Lebanese presidential election, the Minister considered that Lebanese leaders must agree to elect a president without waiting for any foreign interference, "bearing in mind that I understand the pressure from some consuls in this file because it affects their countries in one way or another."
In a separate context, Bou Habib said Lebanon is waiting for a unified Arab decision regarding the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden, noting that at the present time, the Swedish ambassador to Lebanon is on leave.
He also revealed that he had asked the Lebanese ambassador to Sweden not to return to the Nordic country.
"We are awaiting a unified #Arab decision regarding the desecration of the Holy #Quran in #Sweden. Meanwhile, the #Swedish ambassador to #Lebanon is on leave, and I have asked the Lebanese ambassador to Sweden not to return there until further notice."— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) July 29, 2023
- Abdullah Bou Habib,… https://t.co/3rh5DHulgG
Elsewhere, Bou Habib said Lebanese Resistance icon and ex-prisoner Suha Bechara had entered Greece with her Swiss passport, which limits Lebanon's ability to take action after Bechara had been briefly detained by Greek authorities, adding that the Swiss state is following up on this file.
In mid-July, the Lebanese Communist Party reported that Greek authorities briefly detained Bechara at Athens airport, during a transit on her way to Switzerland, where she is a citizen.
Omar Al-Deeb, the head of the party's political office, explained that Greek authorities told Bechara that she was considered a "persona non grata" and "poses a threat to Greek national security."