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Bassil meets Ambassadors over UNRWA dossier, says US decision to end aids tampers with peace

Caretaker Foreign Minister, Gebran Bassil, on Monday said that the US fresh decision to end all funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) tampers with the peace process, stressing that Lebanon will fight refugee settlement through political and diplomatic channels to conserve the Palestinian right of return.

Bassil made these remarks during his meeting with a diplomatic delegation representing the states concerned with the UNRWA dossier, and which comprised 15 Arab and foreign ambassadors to Lebanon, in addition to the Charge d'Affaires of 9 embassies in Lebanon and representatives of UNRWA, UN, and the European Union; neither the US Ambassador nor a representative of her took part in the meeting.

"The US decision to cease the funding of UNRWA is only a political decision, and not an administrative or financial; it is part of the decisions and policies adopted recently," Bassil said following the meeting.

"[The decision] tampers with the fundaments of the peace process, thus with the regional and international peace and stability, as it follows a series of steps, which are the recognition of al-Quds as Israel's capital and the consecration of the Jewish identity of the state," he added, "which means the abolition of the right of return."

"Pertaining to Lebanon, this is a constitutional matter and we cannot accept it, for it eliminates the Lebanese entity and nation," he stressed.

"Therefore, I deemed it normal to summon the ambassadors of the donor and host states, in addition to the representatives of UN, UNRWA and the EU," he said.

"We informed the ambassadors of Lebanon's rejection of the said decision, and we called the international community not to accept the end of aids to the Palestinians, especially that the US decision contravenes the UN resolutions upon which the peace process has been built," Bassil indicated.

"We consider that the cease of aids and the inhibition of return oppose all the international resolutions and the undertakings of the concerned states; therefore, our rejection and that of the concerned states must be translated whether into reneging on this decision or into increasing the donor states' contributions," he explained.

"Lebanon regards such decisions with growing fear and concern as the help for the Palestinian refugees is ceased to prevent their return; and as aids overwhelm the Syrian people in the host countries, but end if they decide to return to their homeland," Bassil underlined.

"This is the message that we conveyed to the ambassadors, so that they relay it to their governments, and we will wait for their official answers," he concluded.

Source: National News Agency

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