|Lebanon has right to resistance against Israeli agression, FM says||
Lebanese Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil affirmed Lebanon’s right to a resistance against Israeli aggression and occupation, the Daily Star reported Sunday.
“Lebanon has the right to liberate the Shebaa Farms, Kfarshouba Hills and the Lebanese sector of Ghajar, and to resist any Israeli aggression or occupation with all available, legitimate means. It (resistance) is a right that no one in the Arab community has any interest in abandoning,” Bassil told Arab League summit in Cairo in his 15-minute address, his first in his new position.
His comments come as rival Lebanese parties struggle to draft the new Cabinet’s policy statement given a deep-rooted dispute over the resistance clause which March 14 coalition ministers believe legitimizes Hezbollah’s arms.
Bassil also warned that the country is in danger of becoming a conduit for jihadists worldwide as it faces the worst refugee crisis in modern times.
He appealed to Arab states to help Lebanon with the overwhelming number of Syrian refugees on its soil, and to assist the country combat terrorism by funding the Lebanese Army.
“It is about the 1.4 million Syrian refugees accounting for a third of the Lebanese population ... every number is a communal tragedy in terms of economy, security, education, medical care, prisons and even graves,” Bassil said.
Bassil said terrorism in the region should be combatted with “enlightened Arab thought” and regional polices.
“However, combating such terrorism in Lebanon requires a strong army and your support to fund it and arm it so that it can be Lebanon’s shield against all dangers and yours as well,” he said.
He also spoke about the recent World Bank report which estimated that the crisis in Syria had cost Lebanon $7.5 billion with poverty level expected to reach 30 percent and unemployment 50 percent.
“The policy of open doors can no longer be adopted and implosion is inevitable if it continues. Unfortunately, it will also affect other countries as well,” he said.
He also reiterated Lebanon’s demand for the establishment of refugee centers inside Syria close to Lebanon’s border, which would facilitate the transfer of aid inside the war-torn country.
“Lebanon is screaming in pain, for God’s sake respond to it so that it does not have to send any refugee back,” he said.
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