YEREVAN, AUGUST 14, ARMENPRESS. The government of Armenia is developing a package of regulations that will enable “worthily” receiving repatriates from Lebanon after the August 4 Beirut blast, the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan said at a news conference after returning from the Lebanese capital where he led a delegation to assess the situation.
“We must be able to worthily receive the people who are willing to come to Armenia, live here, become full members of the society, citizens, taxpayers, soldiers, and try to build the homeland we dream about,” Sinanyan said.
Asked whether Armenia is implementing a repatriation policy for the Lebanese-Armenians, Sinanyan noted that he doesn’t consider this description to be accurate. He said that in the event of repatriation policy it is the government who is creating the conditions which lead to people willing to return, whereas this isn’t the case.
“In this case we are actually in the role of an observer”, he said, noting that the current situation was caused by different accumulating problems in Lebanon.
He pointed out the Lebanese economic crisis, the banking sector’s paralyzed condition, the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and the August 4 explosion in Beirut. “And the blast was the last blow. As a result, we have what we have,” Sinanyan said.
According to him, Lebanese-Armenians had sentiments of leaving Lebanon as early as 2019. He presented results of a 2019 survey conducted among 521 Lebanese-Armenians, with 58% of respondents saying they would leave Lebanon soon. A significant part of them had said they consider moving to Armenia.
“We, as a state, bear responsibility for our citizens. According to the embassy’s information, there are 25000 Armenian citizens living in Lebanon, we have responsibility for our compatriots,” Sinanyan said.
Editing and Translating by Stepan Kocharyan