Gebran Bassil: “Syrians are an Existential Threat to the Lebanese.”

Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has gone so far as to frame Syrians as an existential threat to the Lebanese state.

Asharq Al-awsat newspaper published five days ago that Lebanese President Michel Aoun reiterated his call for “the return of the Syrian refugees to the safe areas of Syria”, adding that he was surprised with “the position of some parties that are hindering or discouraging this return.”

Aoun also said he refused to wait for a political solution to allow the Syrian refugees to go back to their homeland, according to Asharq Al-awsat.

President Aoun made his remarks during a meeting with a delegation of the British Royal College of Defense Studies, and
pointed to “the challenges faced by Lebanon with 1.8 million displaced on its territory, based on 2015 figures, adding that this number constitutes 50 percent of the Lebanese population.”

He also expressed concern that the proposals made by the international community in terms of granting the Palestinian refugees work permits in Lebanon – considering that there is no solution to the Palestinian cause – were a “prelude” to their settlement in the country.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil warned against the international community’s adoption of a policy of integrating displaced people in their host countries instead of repatriating them.
Speaking at the International Conference on Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East, held in Brussels on Monday, Bassil said: “The international community’s persistence in adopting refugee integration policies instead of returning them to their country is a form of eradicating Lebanon’s pluralism.”

“This international policy is a new form of oppression against outstanding human groups, like the Lebanese, in the name of humanity,” he stressed.

“This cosmic pressure is destructive to this entity. It only proves the intention to abolish Lebanon’s pluralism in favor of Israeli unilateralism and ISIS,” he warned.