Hariri Resolves Debate Over Brussels Delegation: I Will Represent Lebanon, Speak On Its Behalf

Wednesday, 13 March, 2019 - 13:45 -

Hariri Resolves Debate Over Brussels Delegation: I Will Represent Lebanon, Speak On Its Behalf

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Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks to reporters after holding talks with political blocs on forming a new government. (NNA)
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat
Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri settled a controversy over the Lebanese delegation to the Brussels conference, committing to his decision to reject the presence of the Minister for Displaced Saleh Al-Gharib, who is close to the Syrian regime.

“The Prime Minister is going there, representing Lebanon, speaking on its behalf. It is not allowed to politicize this file,” Hariri said.

Following a meeting with President Michel Aoun at the Baabda Palace, the premier said: “We will go to the Brussels conference because we want the return of the displaced, but there is a reality that needs to be dealt with. They are here, on our land, and we have to help them and help the host communities. We will discuss in Brussels any progress prospect with regard to the return of displaced people.”

The same position was expressed by the minister of Social Affairs from Brussels. The minister was surprised about reports that Lebanon would attend the conference with a non-unified position.

“Lebanon's position is clear; it supports the return of the displaced to their country as soon as possible,” he stated.

He rejected criticisms over Gharib’s non-participation, saying that Lebanon is represented by the prime minister and two main ministries: education and social affairs.

The third Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region will be held on March 12-14. Gharib, a pro-Damascus minister, was not included in the Lebanese delegation. He was criticized for conducting a visit to Damascus to discuss the refugee file without receiving green light from the government.