Lebanon rejects Arab League final statement about Palestinians

Lebanon rejects Arab League final statement about Palestinians
Tue Apr 15, 2014 09:40:38

Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil has voiced his country’s reservation and opposition to a recent resolution by the Arab League that he said failed to mention the Palestinian right of return, a crucial item for Lebanon.

During a news conference on Monday, Bassil said the ministry sent a letter of objection to the regional organization and held contacts with its head, Nabil Arabi, and the Palestinian Foreign Affairs Ministry to amend the statement, which was released on April 9.

“We gladly accepted the Arab League invitation to listen to the president of Palestine on developments in the negotiations with the Israeli side under the sponsorship of the US,” Bassil told reporters.

“In that ministerial meeting, we supported the decisions which were expected to be in the final statement because it preserved the tripartite formula of the Arab Peace Initiative,” he said, referring to the need for Israel to withdrawal to the 1967 borders, the establishment of a Palestinian state and the right of refugees to return.

However, he added: “We were surprised to see that the right of return, or at least rejection of nationalization in Lebanon, was dropped from the final statement ... therefore, we announce our reservation and opposition against what happened."

Lebanon hosts more than 500,000 Palestinian refugees, many of whom live in a number of camps across the country.

“The right of return is a permanent Lebanese stance and that position can change if [Palestinians] abandon such a right. Lebanon's stance, then, will be outright rejection of nationalization,” he said.

Bassil argued that the right to return is guaranteed on the domestic, regional and international levels, citing decisions and agreements that oppose such a move.

“The world will never understand the right to return in light of Israel’s stubbornness unless it threatens international peace and stability. Consequently, If Israel continues as such then the goal of the United States for stability in Lebanon will not be achieved,” he said.


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