Bassil: We Won't Allow Naturalization of Syrians, Palestinians and We'll Defeat ISإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil stressed Sunday that the Free Patriotic Movement will not tolerate any attempt at granting the Lebanese nationality to Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, as he noted that communal coexistence can defeat the extremist ideology of the Islamic State jihadist group.
“We won't facilitate the naturalization of Syrians and Palestinians when real Lebanese are deprived of it -- those Lebanese who emigrated to enable us to remain in our country,” said Bassil in Beit Lahya as he toured the towns of the Rashaya region.
“I warn of a new wave of Lebanese emigration if the Syrian refugee influx into Lebanon does not stop and if the government fails to implement its plan in this regard,” he added.
The minister lamented that “it is not fair when Syrians get their rights in Lebanon while the Lebanese do not get any of their rights in their homeland.”
Bassil has recently announced that since last September, around 50,000 new Syrian refugees have been officially registered in Lebanon, warning that some Lebanese institutions “are not abiding by the decision taken by the cabinet to stop the flow of refugees.”
Lebanon is hosting around 1.5 million Syrian refugees, an enormous strain for a country with a population of just four million. The UNHCR has regularly urged the international community to provide Lebanon with greater assistance to tackle the influx.
Turning to the threat Lebanon is facing from the rise of jihadist groups in the region, Bassil reassured that “through our Lebanese way of thinking, through which Christians and Muslims coexist, we will win against Daesh (IS group).”
“Religious and sectarian extremism is intolerable but we must be extremists regarding our Lebanese identity, because we won't find it anywhere else except in Lebanon,” the minister added.
“Our strength lies in our resilience in the face of the conspiracies that might come from the East or the West,” said Bassil.
He noted, however, that “we must live real partnership, not a fake one,” pointing out that the FPM draws its “legitimacy” from being “truly representative” of popular bases.
Separately, Bassil said there is no reason for the government to exist if it does not manage to “confront the important and crucial issues.”