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Palestinian Ambassador: Ein al-Hilweh's Stability 'Red Line'--Says Qaeda 'Does not Exist in Lebanon'.

--Palestinian Ambassador: Ein al-Hilweh's Stability 'Red Line'

--Says Qaeda 'Does not Exist in Lebanon'

Outgoing Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon Abdullah Abdullah commented during an interview carried by the Beirut daily AN NAHAR on Jan. 3 on a number of issues related to Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon; in addition to what is happening in the region. Abdullah said that stability in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein al-Hilweh located in southern Lebanon "is a red line," adding that Palestinians in Lebanon "are not bigger than the [Lebanese] government," and that the Palestinian side "is ready to agree [with Lebanon] on a formula [regarding Palestinian weapons] that would respect Lebanon's sovereignty.

Abdullah told AN NAHAR that there is a plan "seeking to use Palestinian [refugees in Lebanon for objectives] lying outside of Lebanon." He further explained that since the country has not been affected by the popular uprisings that rocked a number of Arab states last year "some [states might] exploit this situation in Lebanon]." It is worth mentioning that the atmosphere in the camp in Dec. 2011 was tense following the assassination of two bodyguards who were protecting the head of Fatah's police force in Ein al-Hilweh, Mahmoud Abdel Hamid Issa known as "Al-Lino".

Qaeda

Regarding the controversial issue related to the presence of al-Qaeda in Lebanon, Abdullah denied that this terrorist organization is present in Lebanon and also criticized attempts seeking to blame al-Qaeda for any radical action. The Palestinian envoy told the newspaper that the issue of al-Qaeda is being "over-exaggerate"

Lebanon's Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn accused the Lebanese northern town of Arsal in Dec. 2011 of harboring al-Qaeda members. Following his statements, two bombings rocked Damascus, which the Syrian regime blamed on al-Qaeda. Ghosn's remarks have caused a stir in Lebanon with some MPs, mainly those affiliated with the Western-backed March 14 alliance, calling for adopting a no-confidence vote against Ghosn. Abdullah also said that the leadership [of the Islamist Hamas movement and the chief of its political bureau Kahled Meshaal "are still in Damascus," thus denying some media reports which have said that the Islamist group had left Syria.

In addition, Abdullah told AN NAHAR that Palestinians would "soon" establish a Higher Palestinian Committee, which would help manage the lives of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. The Palestinian ambassador explained to AN NAHAR that for example, healthcare services, which the United Nations is offering the refugees, are not sufficient; therefore among the roles of the Palestinian Higher Committee is to follow up on the daily lives of refugees.
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Title Annotation:LEBANON-PALESTINIANS
Publication:The Weekly Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Jan 13, 2012
Words:421
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