| 29 January 2023, Sunday |

Aoun to European Commission: Lebanon wishes for reciprocity from the rest of the world, particularly Europe

President Michel Aoun informed Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, that “Lebanon, which shares European Union concerns about illegal immigration to a number of EU countries, believes that the Union will appreciate Lebanese concerns in this regard. Especially when Lebanon is home to over 1.5 million displaced Syrians and over 500,000 Palestinian refugees.”

“This hosting has left many repercussions on the Lebanese economy and exacerbated the financial, social, educational and health crises it faces. Lebanon is taking measures to prevent any illegal immigration from its lands towards Europe, and the military and security forces are always watching the sea to prevent people smuggling operations towards neighboring countries. However, Lebanon, on the other hand, has not received response to the calls it has repeatedly made for help in facilitating the return of the displaced Syrians to their lands, especially in the safe areas, whose percentage has increased significantly when armed confrontations were confined to the Idlib region” the President said.

“Therefore, Lebanon, which is taking measures to prevent illegal immigration from its lands, hopes that it will receive reciprocal treatment from the countries of the world, especially the European countries, because it is no longer able to bear more of the burdens that contributed to the deteriorating economic and financial conditions in it” President Aoun added.

The President also pointed out that the international community continues to ignore the Lebanese calls to facilitate the return of the displaced Syrians to their homeland, which began to cause doubts that there are those who are working to keep them in Lebanon, and this is what the Lebanese cannot accept due to the negative impact it has on the demographic situation based on the balance between the various Lebanese components.

Moreover, President Aoun thanked Schinas for the support provided by the European Union to Lebanon, praising the existing partnership between the Lebanese and European sides, promising to support the efforts made by the Union and other countries to curb the phenomenon of infiltration of migrants from Belarus to the European Union in its efforts to combat illegal immigration.

For his part, Schinas affirmed the European Union’s gratitude for the cooperation that exists between it and Lebanon, and for the support provided by the Lebanese state to take care of the affairs of the displaced Syrians, pointing out that this position is highly appreciated by the European Union, which is aware of the meager Lebanese resources and the ability to meet the needs of the displaced in various fields and levels.

Schinas also stressed that the Union will continue to provide the necessary assistance to Lebanon, pending the availability of reasons that would enable them to return to their country and restore their normal lives.

Finally, Schinas asked President Aoun for the help of the Lebanese state in curbing the infiltration of migrants from Belarus to the European Union, pointing to the existence of organized smuggling networks that transport these people to the border with Poland and infiltrate through the woods into Polish lands.


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