The Lebanese president Michel Aoun has reportedly “signed” a decree granting Lebanese citizenship to dozens of foreign nationals, including Syrian businessmen, despite widespread political and media opposition to the move dubbed as a prelude for“settlement,” the Saudi Asharq al-Awsat reported on Friday.
A Lebanese minister, who refused to be named, said the decree included the names of Syrian, Palestinian, Western and Gulf businessmen, noting that the Lebanese authorities had considered “individual and collective requests for businessmen with problems and obstacles in their work,” according to the daily.
The minister, said “the largest batch of names came from the Maronite Diaspora Institution,” noting that “only 10 Syrians were included in the measure.”
The decree gives citizenship to some 300 people, mostly Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Yemeni, Tunisian, Egyptian, Saudi, German, French, British, Iranian, Chilean, American and Indian, as well as a number of stateless applicants, said the daily.
Other reports said the applicants are distributed among businessmen whose naturalization may contribute to stimulating the economy through investments and employment opportunities for many Lebanese and non-Lebanese.
In that regard, Kataeb bloc member, Nadim Gemayel “categorically rejected it,” describing the move as a “project of resettlement.The naturalization decree is a real danger that affects the balance between communities," he said.
For his part, MP-elect Nehmeh Tohme said he supports “granting citizenship to emigrants of Lebanese origin,” describing any naturalization of foreigners as a “surprise move that raises a lot of questions about the intentions behind it.”
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