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Ahead of Pompeo Visit, Lebanon’s Syria, Iran Allies Accuse US of Supporting Syrian Resettlement

Ahead of Pompeo Visit, Lebanon’s Syria, Iran Allies Accuse US of Supporting Syrian Resettlement

Wednesday, 20 March, 2019 - 08:30
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (AFP)
Beirut - Mohammed Shuqair

The allies of Iran and the Syrian regime in Lebanon are preparing to receive US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s first visit to Beirut with a series of accusations.

The first of those accusations is that Washington supports the resettlement of displaced Syrians in Lebanon. They cited in this regard Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil’s refusal to attend last week’s Brussels donor conference on Syria because he alleged it aimed to provide financial aid to help the displaced stay in Lebanon.

Iran and Syria’s allies will try to leave no space in the political and media arena for Pompeo to emphasize Lebanon’s commitment to US sanctions imposed on Tehran and Hezbollah.

According to well-informed Lebanese sources, the allies are carrying out an order to disrupt Pompeo’s visit, which aims to confirm Washington’s stance that Lebanon would not be left prey to the Iranian agenda and Hezbollah’s control.

The political sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Pompeo would focus on Washington’s insistence on “balancing the internal equation,” otherwise, Lebanon’s policy of dissociation from regional conflicts would be compromised.

Abandoning the policy will negatively affect Lebanon’s internal stability and impede the implementation of the reform plan approved in the CEDRE Conference, according to the sources.

Therefore, Iran and Syria’s allies see Pompeo’s visit as an opportunity to incite the Lebanese public opinion, especially Christians, on the grounds that the US administration stands by settling Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Asharq Al-Awsat spoke with Progressive Socialist Party, Lebanese Forces and Future Movement politicians, who rejected such claims.

They instead noted that the international community’s insistence on linking the return of the displaced to the political solution in Syria was due to reports from Damascus that thousands of displaced persons who returned voluntarily to Syria have been persecuted and imprisoned.

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