IBNA/Interview: Gebran Bassil, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of Lebanon

IBNA/Interview: Gebran Bassil, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of Lebanon


Minister, the refugee crisis is very important for your country. You have more than 1 million refugees who are here. Are you ready if there is a new wave of refugees coming to your country from Syria after the conflict in the area of Aleppo and elsewhere?

I think no one country can bear what we are already bearing in terms of capacity, of land and population. We have the highest rate of refugees and displaced people per kilometer and per capita. But no one country can bear more refugees, not in the region and not in Europe. And the only way we can face this is to put enough pressure to fight the terrorists, stop the war in Syria, and work for a quick and safe return of Syrians to Syria.

Do you have any good news after the EU and Turkey agreement for the refugees? Do you believe that there is something good from this agreement?

I don’t believe that this is the way we can solve the refugee crisis, by moving them from one place to another, by resettlement or integration or providing better conditions. I think the only good condition for the people of the region is to stay in their countries and provide them where they are with good conditions of living. Development, democracy, human rights, a way to live in dignity and in safety is only possible where they were born, where their native country is. Or else, they will create problems to the counties they will move too, because mass movement of populations is never good, neither to the host countries nor to the original country.

About the cooperation between Greece, Lebanon and Cyprus. You await many things from this cooperation. Do you have any plan to open this cooperation to different countries, for example Jordan or Egypt?

Yes, it is not only limited to the triangle of Lebanon, Greece and Cyprus. This is a good triangle to expand because we have a space of culture and values that we have an interest to expand and extend to other countries. But this has to be tangible through projects in education, in oil and gas, green energy; so many fields where we can create positive things for the people of our countries, and then others will follow and the circle will be enlarged.

Are you optimistic now that Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.

He has to carry a change of policy. I can see the change. Let’s hope it will be positive in terms of really helping everybody everywhere to get rid of terrorism. This is the main target now. And then leave each country to decide its destiny on its own./IBNA