Top Lebanese politician Gebran Bassil infected with coronavirus

Gebran Bassil, a Lebanese politician and head of the Free Patriotic movement, talks during an interview with Reuters in Sin-el-fil, Lebanon July 7, 2020. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 28 September 2020

Top Lebanese politician Gebran Bassil infected with coronavirus

  • Bassil is the son-in-law of Lebanese President Michel Aoun and a former foreign minister who heads the country’s largest Christian political bloc
  • He discovered he was infected on Saturday after several tests

BEIRUT: Former Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has been infected with the coronavirus, he said on Sunday, as cases surge throughout the country.

Bassil, the son-in-law of Lebanese President Michel Aoun and leader of the country’s largest Christian political bloc, said he had tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Saturday.

The party said he had a mild case of the disease and had made it public as a “message to everyone who has had contact with him recently.” He would quarantine himself until he overcame the virus, it said.

“Bassil wanted to issue this statement to inform all those he was recently in contact with, as they could not all be contacted individually, and to apologize for not knowing in advance about the matter,” the political party said in the statement.

The statement did not specify when Bassil last met with the 85-year-old Aoun.

Lebanon’s leading politicians have been meeting frequently in recent weeks amid efforts to form a new government.

The country has seen a spike in coronavirus infections following a devastating Aug. 4 port blast. On Saturday, the country registered a record 1,280 new daily infections. The virus has killed at least 340 people.

Bassil is widely unpopular among Lebanon’s street protesters, many of whom made sarcastic comments on social media.

“Corona announces that it has been infected with the Gebran Bassil virus,” one wrote.

He is the third Lebanese politician to be infected, after former minister Mohammed Safadi and current caretaker Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe.

 


Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

Updated 22 min 44 sec ago

Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

  • The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire
  • Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed

ANKARA: Turkey and Russia have agreed to monitor a truce over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region from a joint peacekeeping center, Ankara’s defense ministry said on Tuesday.
The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire signed this month between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed, the defense ministry said in a statement, adding that it would begin work “as soon as possible.”
Turkey is a staunch ally of Azerbaijan and has fervently defended its right to take back the Nagorno-Karabakh lands Baku lost to ethnic Armenian separatists in a 1988-94 war.
The truce deal ended more than six weeks of fighting that claimed more than 1,400 lives and saw ethnic Armenians agree to withdraw from large parts of the contested region of Azerbaijan.
The Turkish parliament voted this month to deploy a mission to “establish a joint center with Russia and to carry out the center’s activities.”
The deployment is set to last a year and its size will be determined by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Russia has said repeatedly that Turkey will have no troops on the ground under the truce deal’s terms.