Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas inaugurated Wednesday the Palestinian embassy in Lebanon and hoisted the Palestinian flag atop its building, after the Lebanese cabinet officially recognized the state of Palestine and approved to raise the level of diplomatic representation with it.
Flanked by Prime Minister Najib Miqati, the Palestinian leader also unveiled a plaque commemorating the event.
“In these days, it delights us as Palestinians to see the Palestinian flag flying in the heart of Lebanon, in the heart of the Lebanese people and in the heart of every Lebanese who loves Palestine,” Abbas said in front of the embassy.
“We will go together with Lebanon to the United Nations to seek a full membership for the state of Palestine at this international forum,” Abbas added, hoping to “see the day when the Lebanese flag will be hoisted in Jerusalem.”
For his part, PM Miqati stressed “Lebanon’s support for Palestine’s membership at the U.N. General Assembly, especially that Lebanon will head the (U.N.) Security Council in September.”
Miqati also asserted that “the Lebanese government will exert utmost efforts, within its available resources, to improve the living conditions of our Palestinian brothers residing in Lebanon.”
On a separate note, the premier said no Palestinian group “should be allowed to be exploited by outside forces as a tool to sabotage Lebanon’s security outside (refugee) camps.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Abbas and Miqati held talks at the Grand Serail on the developments in the region and the Palestinian issue.
Lebanon approved the recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders in November 2008 but the decision was never implemented.
Miqati's cabinet, in which Hizbullah and its allies hold majority, last week agreed to apply the decision, making Lebanon the last Arab country to recognize a Palestinian state.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) estimates that some 425,000 Palestinian refugees reside in Lebanon, a country with a population of four million. Other estimates however put the number at some 250,000.
By long-standing convention, the Lebanese army does not enter the country's 12 refugee camps, leaving security inside the destitute camps to the Palestinians.
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