244 evacuated Lebanese arrive in Beirut from Abidjan

A MEA flight from Abidjan landed in Beirut early Monday morning with 244 Lebanese expatriates fleeing the Ivory Coast on board.

This is the first direct flight from Abidjan . All the other flights were via Accra Ghana.

This brings the number of Lebanese expatriates that were evacuated from Ivory Coast to 1244

The number of Lebanese that have applied at the Lebanese embassy in Abidjan for evacuation is 6000. The remaining Lebanese will be evacuated as follows:

– An MEA flight will head daily to Abidgan to pick up evacuees directly from the country

– Another MEA flight will head daily to Accra , Ghana to pick up the evacuees that were transferred from Abidjan to Accra

– 2 charter planes ( one with a capacity of 50 passengers and another with a capacity of 75 passengers ) will be shuttling twice daily between Accra and and Abidjan to pick up passengers from Abidjan and position them in Accra for eventual transfer to Lebanon .

Both Qatar and Iran have offered to help in evacuating the Lebanese , but so far no action has been taking by either country

The Lebanese expatriates in Côte d’Ivoire reportedly came under threat after Lebanon’s ambassador Ali Ajami meddled in the internal affairs of the country by attending the swearing-in ceremony of Laurent Gbagbo, the controversial strongman who has refused to step down despite rival Alassane Ouattara being internationally recognized as having won the country’s elections.

Ajami is reportedly very closely associated with Hezbollah .

There are over 70, 000 Lebanese living in the Ivory coast , mostly from south Lebanon

Caretaker PM Saad Hariri who worked out the agreement with MEA for direct flights to Abidjan addressed the situation of the Lebanese expatriates in Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) last week:

“We have been exerting efforts, together with Lebanon’s friends, to rescue our people in Ivory Coast from the consequences of the foolish political decisions taken without the State’s consent.”

He was referring to Ajami’s siding with Gbagbo, a decision reportedly taken by Hezbollah and Iran, without the approval of the Lebanese government