Top Libyan leaders in Jordan to strengthen bilateral relations

A handout photo released by the Jordanian Royal Palace on December 2, 2018 shows Jordan's King Abdullah II (L) receiving Libya's unity government Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj upon the latter's arrival at Al-Husseiniyah Palace in the capital Amman. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2018
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Top Libyan leaders in Jordan to strengthen bilateral relations

  • Nael Zidane, deputy director of the Jordanian Hospital Association, said the Libyans have promised to pay back $220 million

AMMAN: King Abdullah of Jordan received Fayez Al-Sarraj, chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) on Sunday in Amman.
They discussed bilateral ties and recent developments in Libya and the region, Jordan’s royal court said without elaborating.
Jordan’s Prime Minister Omar Razzaz also met with Al-Sarraj, and “spoke about the deep relationship between the two countries and the expectation that mutual cooperation can accomplish the aspirations of both people,” his office said in a statement.
They discussed existing agreements, unresolved issues and the potential for Libyan investment in Jordan, the statement added.
Musa Shteiwi, head of the Strategic Studies Center at Jordan University, said Jordan provides a safe environment for reconciliation talks between rival Libyan sides.
“Jordan has historically had a great relation with all political and military parties in Libya,” he told Arab News.
Because of that, Jordan “can play a role in bringing them together,” he said, adding that international players have been supportive of the country’s role as an “honest broker.”
Jordanian government spokesman Jumana Ghnaimat told Arab News that the presence of Libyan officials in Amman provides an opportunity to resolve a number of issues, including unpaid hospital and hotel bills.
Abdel Hakim Al-Hindi, chair of the Hotel Owners Association, said hotels will receive $46 million of the $150 million due for providing accommodation to Libyans.
Nael Zidane, deputy director of the Jordanian Hospital Association, said the Libyans have promised to pay back $220 million.
“The Libyan government had appointed an audit firm, and this was the amount that it confirmed is the debt to Jordanian hospitals,” he told Arab News.
Libya will pay half the amount immediately, and the other half once Al-Sarraj returns to his country, Zidane said.


Jumblatt expresses concern over torture of Syrian refugees

Syrian children are pictured at a refugee camp in the village of Mhammara in the northern Lebanese Akkar region on March 9, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 42 min 1 sec ago
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Jumblatt expresses concern over torture of Syrian refugees

  • Walid Jumblatt has expressed concern about Syrian refugees returning to their country from Lebanon
  • Jan Kubis: “The UN and the humanitarian community will continue to facilitate these returns as much as possible

BEIRUT: Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt has expressed concern about reports that Syrian refugees returning to their country from Lebanon face torture and murder.

This coincides with a debate in Lebanon about whether Syrian refugees should return without waiting for a political solution to the conflict in their country. 

UN Special Coordinator Jan Kubis stressed after meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday the “urgent need to ensure the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Syrian refugees home, according to international humanitarian norms.” 

Kubis added: “The UN and the humanitarian community will continue to facilitate these returns as much as possible. Another very important message was also to support the host communities here in Lebanon.”

Mireille Girard, representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), on Monday said: “The reconstruction process in Syria may not be enough to attract refugees to return. We are working to identify the reasons that will help them to return.”

She added: “The arrival of aid to the refugees is an element of trust that helps them to return. Their dignity and peaceful living must be ensured.”

Social Affairs Minister Richard Kouyoumdjian said the Lebanese General Security “issued lists containing the names of refugees wishing to return to their homes, but the Syrian regime accepted only about 20 percent of them.”

He added: “The solution is to call on the international community to put pressure on Russia, so that Moscow can exert pressure on (Syrian President) Bashar Assad’s regime to show goodwill and invite Syrian refugees to return to their land without conditions, procedures, obstacles and laws that steal property and land from them.”

Lebanese Education Minister Akram Chehayeb said: “The problem is not reconstruction and infrastructure, nor the economic and social situation. The main obstacle is the climate of fear and injustice in Syria.”

He added: “There are 215,000 Syrian students enrolled in public education in Lebanon, 60,000 in private education, and there are informal education programs for those who have not yet attended school to accommodate all children under the age of 18.” 

Chehayeb said: “As long as the displacement crisis continues, and as long as the (Assad) regime’s decision to prevent the (refugees’) return stands … work must continue to absorb the children of displaced Syrians who are outside education to protect Lebanon today and Syria in the future.”