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Syria Shows 'Positive Attitude' in Dealing With Lebanon’s Displaced File

Syria Shows 'Positive Attitude' in Dealing With Lebanon’s Displaced File

Wednesday, 20 February, 2019 - 07:45
Prime Minister Saad Hariri meets with Minister of the Displaced Saleh Al-Gharib on Tuesday (NNA)
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat
Following the controversy that surrounded the visit of Minister of the Displaced Saleh Al-Gharib to Damascus - with Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s sources confirming that the latter was not duly informed about it - the minister met on Tuesday with President Michel Aoun and Hariri to update them on the results of his meetings.

A statement issued by the Presidential Office said Gharib briefed Aoun on “the results of his visit to Damascus on Monday and the topics he discussed with Syrian officials.”

The minister, for his part, said he hoped that the Lebanese would agree on a “national, sensitive and accurate file of this size, as things are no longer tolerable.”

“We call again for dissociating the file of the displaced from political disputes because of the economic, financial and security pressures on the nation,” he emphasized.

Gharib went on to say that he touched a “very positive [Syrian] attitude” towards the refugees’ file and “the possibility of providing great facilitations” in this regard.

Well-informed ministerial sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Syrian side was reportedly showing a desire to cooperate on the file of the displaced, noting that the return mechanism would likely be discussed at a later stage.

On reports about Hariri’s discontent with the visit, the sources said: “Gharib is not the first official to go to Syria; other ministers have already taken the same step.”

Asked following his meeting with the premier about the controversy surrounding his visit, the minister said: “What is between us and Prime Minister Hariri remains between us and Prime Minister Hariri.”

Gharib met in Damascus with Minister of Local Administration and Environment Hussein Makhlouf. The meeting focused on ways to facilitate the safe return of refugees.

“The Syrian side was very responsive and welcomed the return of all displaced people,” Gharib said, adding that Lebanon was “ready to work with all concerned parties to secure the return of refugees in a way that will ensure the interests of the Lebanese State.”

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