The Foreign Minister of Lebanon is calling on Lebanese expats to reclaim their Lebanese citizenship so that Lebanon is not lost to terrorists and refugees.
At a ceremony held by the Lebanese Embassy in Johannesburg, South Africa, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil warned that the failure to reclaim their Lebanese citizenship would lead to the loss of Lebanon to terrorists and refugees – adding:
“We need your help to restore Lebanese expats their Lebanese citizenship … With each person that restores his Lebanese citizenship, we give Lebanon a new day of life.”
“Lebanon, without its philosophy and culture, will go to the advantage of refugees and terrorists.”
Bassil, referring to new national partnerships, said:
“Twenty-five years ago the wall between East and West Berlin was destroyed and in Lebanon, after 15 years we destroyed some of the walls dividing [Beirut] politically, socially and economically”
Speaking at the Lebanese Diaspora Energy Conference, he urged the Lebanese diaspora to hold onto their national identity without losing their affiliations to their country of residence. Bassil warned in a statement issued by his press office:
“Lebanon is made of Christians and Muslims and if either is eliminated, the country and the diaspora will not remain”
Reiterating calls on expats to restore their nationality, he said:
“Don’t let Lebanon die, but let it thrive and breathe by restoring your citizenship and your ‘Lebanonism'”
Bassil met with the South African Foreign Minister where the two renewed bilateral ties calling for a future agreement to remove the travel visa requirement between Lebanon and South Africa.
Bassil noted that flights offered to Africa from Beirut by Middle East Airlines would help spread the Lebanese culture and language. He said he seeks direct flights between Lebanon and countries in Africa to better serve Lebanon’s diaspora communities.
Bassil made his remarks in a meeting in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He addressed Lebanese expats, saying: “You should work on that to be granted the right to participate [in the upcoming elections], which will not happen if the current [1960 voting system] remains.”
“Change is a path that will grant you the right to have representatives in the Parliament and a direct ability to influence and [cast] votes.”