Lebanon is the Mediterranean country bordering Syria which is most concerned by the situation there. The former Lebanese president Amine Gemayel spoke to euronews’ Charles Salameh about how events in Syria are affecting Lebanon.
Former Lebanese President, Amin Gemayel: “The violence, the murders, and the instability that Syria carried out and imposed on Lebanon when it occupied and dominated the country, are now happening on its own territory. As to the economic sanctions, unfortunately such a regime is not influenced by the situation its people are in whether hungry or not. As in the time of the Soviet Union and the worst dictatorships they have no regard for the well being of their people, it is the least of their worries. But in short I am not convinced that economic sanctions can be an essential factor in the fall of that regime.”
euronews: “Economically, what is the impact of events in Syria on the situation in Lebanon?”
Amin Gemayel: “Without doubt there are direct consequences. For example, because of the violence in the territory and the weakened Syrian economy, some Syrians have been forced to take refuge in Lebanon and Lebanon, in this case, will have to bear that burden. For some time Palestinian refugees have been welcomed home, and now that Lebanon is in a difficult economic situation can the country accommodate the number of Syrian refugees who may arrive? This is an issue which concerns us in the short and medium term.”
euronews: “Syrian authorities accused Lebanon of not controlling its borders properly what is your specific reading on that?”
Amin Gemayel: “It is in our common interest to control the borders between Lebanon and Syria, but it is very difficult for the Lebanese government to control all its borders. I would like to add that the Syrian opposition and the revolutionaries do not need the Lebanese border, we all know that the Turkish government support officially the Syrian opposition. The Iraqi government also has its own reasons and long borders with Syria, Jordan, too, all these countries have huge capacity. In addition some Gulf countries and wealthy countries have announced their solidarity and sent weapons to the revolutionaries. The arms can come through any border, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon as well as sea and by other means of arms trafficking which may happen.”