Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Says Syria ‘Serious’ About Facilitating Refugees’ Return

Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali holds a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Friday (NNA)
Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali holds a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Friday (NNA)
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Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Says Syria ‘Serious’ About Facilitating Refugees’ Return

Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali holds a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Friday (NNA)
Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali holds a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Friday (NNA)

Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali announced on Friday his country's 'serious' endeavors in addressing the return of Syrian refugees, noting that Syria does not obstruct their return back home.

The Ambassador said that Damascus has informed the concerned countries about that.

“Syria is serious about receiving them and facilitating their return, and will not hesitate to secure everything that achieves their dignified return,” the Ambassador said following a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun.

A statement released by the Lebanese Presidency said the two men discussed the bilateral relations, and the refugees' return in light of Lebanon’s plan to put that return into gradual effect.

“We discussed the return of Syrian refugees, which is currently being seriously tackled, especially that Syria provided the necessary facilities and measures that help to achieve this return, in cooperation with the brotherly Lebanese state,” the Syrian Ambassador said.

He then affirmed that major countries and international organizations need to facilitate this return and help both countries to achieve it.

Ali said that what helps speed up the return of refugees is to pay the financial aid, currently paid to the refugees in Lebanon, to the returnees in Syria.

“The results would be better because the returning Syrian citizens would benefit from them in various health, educational, development and social fields,” he stressed.

The Ambassador added that a series of amnesty laws issued by Syrian President Bashar Assad were among the measures taken by his country to facilitate the return of the refugees.

Ali’s comments come in light of information that the Syrian authorities refuse to receive refugees in light of a dispute over the issue’s approach between the Lebanese state and UNHCR.

While Lebanon is working on a plan for their return at the local and international level, the UN agency considers that the political and security conditions are not appropriate for their return and refuses to give the relevant ministries in Lebanon information related to hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians scattered in all Lebanese regions since 2011.

This led Lebanon’s caretaker Foreign Minister Abdullah Bu Habib to announce that Lebanon would take several steps, including legal measures, against relevant organizations and bodies that refuse to cooperate with the official authorities concerned with the file.



Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
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Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)

Egypt needs to import around $1.18 billion worth of mazut fuel oil and natural gas to end persistent power cuts exacerbated by consecutive heat waves, its Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in a televised address on Tuesday.

It hopes the shipments will arrive in full around the third week of July, by which point the government aims to stop cutting power during the remaining summer months, he added.

It has already started contracting for 300,000 tons of mazut worth $180 million to boost its strategic reserves which are expected to arrive early next week.

Egypt's government on Monday extended daily power cuts to three hours from two hours previously in response to a surge in domestic electricity consumption during the latest heat wave.

These three-hour cuts will continue until the end of June, before returning to two hours in the first half of July with the aim of stopping completely for the rest of the summer, Madbouly said on Tuesday.

Egyptian social media has lit up with complaints about the impact of the blackouts, with some saying they have been forced to purchase private power generators.

The problem has particularly affected teenagers preparing for the crucial high school certificate, with some posting about students studying by candlelight and others in coffee shops.

A wedding hall owner in the coastal city of Port Said said he would turn one of his ballrooms into a study hall.

Since July last year, load shedding linked to falling gas production, rising demand and a shortage of foreign currency has led to scheduled two-hour daily power cuts in most areas.

"We had said that we planned to end load shedding by the end of 2024... we do not have a power generation problem or a network problem, we are unable to provide fuel," Madbouly said on Tuesday.

"With the increase in consumption related to the major development and population increase, there has been a lot of pressure on our dollar resources," he added.

He said production in a neighboring country's gas field had come to a full halt for 12 hours leading to an interruption in the supply, without naming the country or the gas field.

Egypt's Abu Qir Fertilizers said on Tuesday three of its plants had halted production because their supply of natural gas was cut.