Bassil speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Bayada, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Ahead of two major donor conferences later this year to support Lebanese security forces and kick-start the economy, Foreign Minister Gebran said Tuesday that it was important to go beyond political support and get tangible assistance for the country.Despite promises made in previous conferences held to support Lebanon, much support failed to materialize.As for internal political bickering between Lebanese factions, most notably the latest war of words between President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri, Bassil does not believe it will have a negative effect on the outcome of the meetings.Locally, the parliamentary elections will see Lebanese expatriates participating in voting for the first time in history – something Bassil has long lobbied for.Many expressed the opinion that the numbers were given the unofficial estimates of the Lebanese diaspora being in the tens of millions, but Bassil struck an upbeat tone saying the number was higher than expected.After the deadline at the end of November, Bassil called for an extension of the deadline but he said that it was now not feasible.
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