Lebanese FM to Al-Ahed: Executive Plan for Returning Expatriates on Way, ‘Israeli’ Attacks from Our Spaces must End
By Fatima Salami
The global Coronavirus crisis is intensifying. Many Lebanese expatriates are getting more desperate to return to their motherland. The global state of emergency is fueling people’s desire to return to Lebanon, regardless of the circumstances there.
Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Nassif Hetti outlined a number of points to Al-Ahed concerning the return of expatriates. He pointed out that on Thursday evening they will start to develop an executive action plan for flights and the destination to which the first group of aircraft will be sent.
Hetti affirmed that even though we are concerned about the return and safety of our loved ones, the foreign ministry does not decide details about their repatriation. That task falls on the Cabinet.
He added that the case of the expatriates must be dealt with at a national and not a political level. Hetti asserted that his ministry is shouldering its full responsibility, but pointed to very difficult conditions, and a very serious global crisis.
Regarding the students abroad, Hetti confirmed that, along with promises from the banks, the foreign ministry is trying to compile a list of student account numbers in order to utilize their resources and enable their families to send them money directly.
Hetti, however, refused to go into details when asked about his opinion regarding the banks’ decision to block students’ access to their money in time of need. Nevertheless, he stressed that there is an ethical, national, and legal responsibility that everyone should bear to facilitate the safe return of our children from abroad.
According to Hetti, the return process is not complicated. But it is also not an easy one.
“We are working to resolve all difficulties, and this matter is not easy because we are dealing with the outside world, which is gripped by abnormal circumstances.”
He also indicated that all possible assistance will be extended to those who cannot afford the return ticket. The foreign minister revealed that by Monday night 22,000 people registered their names to return. The majority of those willing to return are in Africa and some countries such as France and the UK.
He also touched on the Zionist entity’s recent attack on Syria via the Lebanese airspace.
"We condemn all attacks committed by ‘Israel’ whether through Lebanon or directly targeting Syria or any Arab country. This constitutes a grave violation of our sovereignty."
Hetti said he feels that it is the primary responsibility of the United Nations and the Security Council to force "Israel" to stop these blatant violations, respect the rules of international relations as well as Security Council resolutions, and not infringe upon the sovereignty of any state.
“We strongly condemn the infringement of our sovereignty and always affirm this position.”