Naharnet

Moscow Proposes 'Deploying Troops in Lebanon' to Return Refugees

Russia has proposed sending a brigade from its military police 20 kilometers into Lebanon to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their country, media reports said.

The suggestion was made during the latest Geneva meeting between the national security advisers of Russia and the United States, Lebanese political sources cited U.S. diplomatic and media reports as saying in remarks published Sunday by Kuwait's al-Anbaa newspaper.

According to the reports, the Russian forces would be stationed in the Bekaa Valley near Syria's border in order to “create a corridor for Syrian refugees whose hometowns have become safe.”

The refugees would be repatriated “with Russian guarantees and in cooperation with the Syrian and Lebanese authorities,” the sources said.

“The Russian side stressed its ability to convince Lebanese President Michel Aoun of this idea, knowing that he is constitutionally capable of taking the decision to allow the Russia force to enter the country for a temporary period of 90 days,” the sources added.

During that period, Russia would “provide around 1,000 buses while 500 Lebanese Army trucks and 500 Syrian army trucks would be deployed to transfer belongings, with guarantees that no returnee would be arrested,” the sources went on to say.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton however rejected the proposal and considered that such a move would “violate Lebanon's sovereignty” at a time Washington is equipping the country's army, the sources added.


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