Fabius in Lebanon Thursday to Discuss Aid to Syrian Refugees, Stress Lebanese Stabilityإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is scheduled to arrive in Lebanon on Thursday on a two-day trip where he will meet with senior officials, reported the daily al-Mustaqbal on Sunday.
It said that the Syrian developments will be at the center of his discussions, with the French minister stressing the need for Lebanon to provide aid to Syrian refugees despite the Lebanese government’s policy of distancing itself from the events in its neighboring country.
French diplomatic sources revealed that he will propose a number of ideas in which Lebanon can assist the refugees, including providing then with humanitarian aid.
“Lebanon must exert more efforts in this domain and the recent deportation of 14 Syrians was a violation of Lebanon’s international commitments,” they remarked.
They also noted the presence of Palestinian refugees in Syria have fled the country’s bloodshed to Lebanon.
Those too require the Lebanese authorities’ aid, stressed the sources.
Lebanon is currently harboring over 30,000 Syrian refugees who have fled their regime’s crackdown against protests that began in March 2011.
Meanwhile, French diplomatic circles stated that this is the first visit of its kind for a French official to Lebanon since the election of President Francois Hollande.
They said that Fabius’ visit will serve as an opportunity to follow up on President Michel Suleiman’s trip to France in July.
Commenting on local developments, the diplomatic circles reiterated France’s support for national dialogue in Lebanon as a solution to pending issues, most notably the possession of arms.
They voiced French fears that the Syrian crisis may spread to Lebanon “due to the presence of forces in Lebanon capable of creating unrest.”
“The regional developments and the Syrian crisis will not help in forming a new government in Lebanon and the Lebanese therefore have to maintain calm in their country,” said the circles.
On August 1, the General Security deported 14 Syrians and said the reasons for the expulsions were not political but a Human Rights Watch representative in Beirut said some of the deportees had expressed fears of persecution on their return.
The General Security said that those deported were wanted for common law not political offences.
They were later released on August 4 amid reports that one of them returned to Lebanon.