Lebanese government stresses ‘urgent need’ to combat terrorism and violence

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. (AP file photo)
Updated 10 August 2017

Lebanese government stresses ‘urgent need’ to combat terrorism and violence

BEIRUT: Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri on Tuesday stressed the government’s commitment to clearing Lebanese territory from terrorist groups.
They highlighted Lebanon’s commitment to the international coalition against terrorism, outlining “the urgent need not to waste any chance to combat and deter terrorism and violence.”
Aoun chaired a meeting of the Higher Defense Council at the presidential palace on Monday.
It was attended by Al-Hariri; the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, finance, interior, justice and economy; army Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun and other security apparatus leaders.
At the end of the meeting, the council issued a statement saying: “The participants discussed the security and military situation in the barren areas close to the Lebanese border, Ras Baalbek and Al-Qaa. The council has taken all the necessary recommendations and decisions to ensure the success of the military operations undertaken to eradicate the terrorists.” The decisions were kept “confidential in compliance with the law.”
Arsal Mayor Bassel Al-Hujeiri told Arab News that hundreds of Daesh militants are in the barren areas of Al-Qaa and Ras Baalbek.
The negotiator who mediated between Hezbollah and Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham (JFS), Sheikh Mustafa Al-Hujeiri, told Arab News that “no one is currently negotiating with Daesh.”
He said negotiations were possible with JFS but “difficult” with Daesh because it “resorts to killing instead of negotiating.”

Pro-army positions
Vice Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Ghassan Hasbani told the National News Agency (NNA): “The Lebanese army is the only authority that should protect and preserve Lebanon’s borders and sovereignty.”
He added: “The army is the one to decide the timing of the upcoming battle against Daesh, with the support of the political authorities … The necessary measures have been taken to secure the transportation of wounded persons, in cooperation with the Lebanese Red Cross.”
A member of the Development and Liberation parliamentary bloc, Yassine Jaber, told the NNA that he is “confident” that the army will prevail against Daesh.
Jamaah Islamiyah (Islamic Group) MP Imad Al-Hout expressed his appreciation to the military for its sacrifices, saying it is the sole decision-taker in the upcoming battle.
MP Joseph Al-Maalouf expressed hope that the army “will end the battle with minimal physical and material losses.”
He told the Voice of Lebanon radio station: “In the past two weeks, after the eruption of the battles on the eastern borders of Lebanon, the Lebanese have shown their full support for the army.”
He criticized unilateral decisions taken by Hezbollah in the battle against JFS in the barren areas of Arsal, saying they undermined Lebanese sovereignty.


Bangladeshi migrants to be repatriated from Libya

Updated 14 November 2019

Bangladeshi migrants to be repatriated from Libya

DHAKA: One hundred and seventy-one Bangladeshi migrants are waiting to be repatriated from two detention centers in Libya after being rescued from the Mediterranean coast on Oct. 30 as they tried to make their way into Europe, officials told Arab News on Wednesday. 

In all, 200 migrants were rescued during the operation.

“The registration process of all the Bangladeshi migrants has been completed and we are expecting to start the repatriation by the end of November,” ASM Ashraful Islam, councilor at the Bangladesh embassy in Libya, said.

He added that, due to the ongoing war in Libya, airports in Tripoli remain non-operational. The Bangladeshi migrants will fly from Misrata airport, 300 kilometers away.

“There are frequent incidents of bombardment and long-range missile strikes (at Tripoli airport),” Islam explained. He said no international airline was currently willing to fly from Libya to Bangladesh, so the embassy intends to charter a flight to repatriate the migrants.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) will bear the expenses for the rescued Bangladeshis, who are currently being held at detention centers in Zanzur and Abu Salim, he said, adding, “Bangladesh mission staffers in Tripoli are in constant touch with the returnees and providing necessary food and other assistance for them.”

In recent years, human traffickers have used Libya as a gateway through which to send illegal migrants to Italy and other European countries. According to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency — Frontex — around 30,000 Bangladeshi migrants have been arrested while trying to enter Europe in the last decade. The organization said that, in recent years, Bangladesh is one of the countries from which the most illegal migrants have tried to enter Europe. The IOM has facilitated the repatriation of Bangladeshi citizens from Libya in the past — 924 in 2017, 307 in 2016, and 521 in 2015.

“Among unemployed Bangladeshi fortune seekers, there is a (desire) to migrate to Europe by any means, and human-trafficking syndicates at home and abroad (have grabbed) this opportunity,” Shariful Hasan, head of the migration program at the Bangladesh-based development organization BRAC, told Arab News. “There needs to be an integrated effort by all concerned countries, with the support of Interpol, to curb this human trafficking.”