Lebanon News

Around 20,000 Lebanese want to return to homeland

A Middle East Airlines (MEA) airplane takes off at Beirut airport, Monday, April 20, 2015. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The number of Lebanese who wish to return to Lebanon is "around 20,000" people, Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti wrote Tuesday morning on his Twitter account.

Cabinet is set to meet for an extraordinary session Tuesday, in which it will discuss the possible repatriation of Lebanese who are stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic. The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Hassan Diab at the Grand Serail.

“We will not leave any person who wants to return to their homeland,” Hitti said, confirming that the government is working on the issue.

Diab courted controversy when he said last week that Lebanese wanting to return must wait until after April 12 to do so. That date is when coronavirus lockdown measures, which include the closure of Lebanon’s sea and air ports, are expected to be relaxed.

It is not clear whether or not Cabinet will agree at its Tuesday session to permit their return before April 12. This will depend on "readiness in Lebanon and abroad with regard to gathering the expatriates in their host countries, organizing flights and preparing medical teams who will be on the planes that will fly the expatriates home,” an offical source told The Daily Star Monday.

 

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