السبت, 7 أيلول, 2019

د. أحمد مرعي ضيف سيريا تايمز

By the end of last month, the Lebanese State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mahmoud al-Qmati and the parliamentarian Anwar Jom’a paid a visit to Syria and they held talks with the Syrian parliament’s Speaker Hammoda Sabbagh and Prime Minister Imad Khamis.

"The visit was very important as it was the first to be paid by a Lebanese State Minister to Syria. In 2016, the Syrian Parliament formed a Syrian-Lebanese brotherhood committee as a gesture of goodwill. However, the Lebanese parliament has not formed a similar committee yet. "The Syrian Member of Parliament Dr. Ahmad Merei said.

He indicated that the visiting minister said that he will work on establishing a similar brotherhood committee in the Lebanese parliament after he returns to his country.

The visit was not official . Yet, it was a good opportunity for the Lebanese Minister, who attended the Damascus International Fair, to visit the Syrian Parliament and to hold talks with the Speaker and the Prime Minister on economic, political and security topics.

“There are no relations between Syrian and Lebanese governments, but there are diplomatic relations between the two countries as there are ambassadors in Damascus and Beirut,” the parliamentarian told the Syria Times e-newspaper, asserting that the policy of nonintervention adopted by Lebanon towards Syria is against both Syria and Lebanon.

“Lebanon has to stand by Syria and not to use such policy,” he added. The innuendo here is that some parties in the Lebanese government are against making good relations with Syria.

As for the question of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Dr. Merei said that Lebanon uses the refugees card to put pressure on Syria in order to get money from the United Nations and the European Union.

“When the Lebanese government wants to get more money, it adopts coercive measures against refugees. The Syrian state repeatedly says that there should be a Lebanese governmental decision to communicate with Syria to resolve the matter of refugees. This matter can only be resolved through communication with Syria. There is no other way around. We are aware of the fact that this matter has affected Syria’s neighboring countries but the solution can be reached via governmental communication, not via individuals,” he stressed, pointing out that there are over 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Dr. Merei went on to say: “Since January 5, 2015, the Lebanese government has made it so difficult for Syrians to travel to Lebanon through taking news measures with a view to reducing the number of Syrians there as Lebanon is a small state and it was the first country that received refugees.”

The measures include paying 2500 Syrian pound [around $4] as entry fee plus showing a hotel booking and $2000 to the Lebanese security at the boarder. The hotel booking costs at least $50 and it is required from the Syrian visitors except state employees, merchants and others.

Concerning the reason for not taking a tit-for-tat action by the Syrian state, the MP underscored that Syria is a nationalist state and it has an Arab role in the Arab world. “Since 40 years ago, Syria’s policy has been based on dealing with Arab countries in accordance with this nationalist role.”

Asked about the effect of the Lebanese national resistance’s recent operation against the Zionist entity [Israel], the Parliamentarian said that resistance front extends from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and part of Palestine and it can gradually prevent Israel from carrying out attacks against any of the members of the Axis of Resistance.

The lung from which Lebanon breathes economically is Syria

On his part, the Lebanese official declared during his visit to Syria that Syria has offered sacrifices to protect the Lebanese resistance and the Lebanese resistance has done the same to protect Syria and both of them are protecting Palestine and the Palestinian cause.  

“We have triumphed thanks to the sacrifices of martyrs in Syria and Lebanon and the strength of the axis of resistance. This victory will not be unsettled and we will not allow the defeated axis that includes the US, Israel, some Arab regimes and Europe to impose conditions upon us neither in Palestine nor in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Yemen,” al-Qmati stated.

“90% of the Lebanese government’s members believe that Lebanon’s economic interest lies in establishing the best relation with Syria.. We do not want to embarrass others even in our visit to Syria. We came to Syria of our own free will and amid the silence of others in Lebanese government.. This silence is a sign of satisfaction,” the Lebanese minister affirmed.

In March 2009, Lebanon opened its first ever embassy in Syria sealing the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the two countries. However, Syria opened its Beirut embassy in 2008.

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour