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Lebanon’s Free Patriotic Movement Renews Call for ‘Direct Dialogue’ with Damascus | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanese Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil. (NNA)

Beirut – Lebanese Foreign Minister and head of the Free Patriotic Movement Jebran Bassil reiterated on Saturday that there can be no resolution to Lebanon’s Syrian refugee crisis “without dialogue with the Syrian regime.”

He therefore urged the Lebanese government to launch direct dialogue with the regime in order to return the refugees to their homeland.

“We support their safe return to their country, whether in communication of the regime or not,” he added.

“This is not a condition for their return. Some of them may return without contacting the regime. Syria will not mind that. The return of others may require contacting Syria…. This can be arranged during a time and through a mechanism that ensures Lebanon’s interest and unity,” he continued.

“The remaining refugees require a longer time and better circumstances for them to return,” said the minister.

“The return can be organized in phases, but it is important that this process begin,” stressed Bassil.

“If the gunmen can return, why can’t the regular people?” he wondered.

“Should we wait for an international green light? This will not happen any time soon,” he noted, saying that the refugee file “is a national, urgent and existential issue in Lebanon.”

“Can such a pressing matter be linked to something that will not happen any time soon, such as the departure of regime head Bashar Assad?” Bassil asked.