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MP Bahia Hariri  and Azzam Ahmad
MP Bahia Hariri and Azzam Ahmad

There is ongoing cooperation between the Palestinian and Lebanese authorities to protect security in Palestinian camps, in an attempt to preserve Lebanon’s stability given the regional turmoil. Azzam Ahmad, a Fatah Central Committee member and a senior  Fatah Movement official revealed over the weekend. He said the aim is  to  prevent Palestinian refugee camps, particularly Sidon’s Ain al-Hilweh, from being dragged into Lebanon’s internal political disputes.

“When it comes to the Palestinian situation in Lebanon, we are coordinating [with Lebanese factions] to block the way of any attempt to detonate the internal Lebanese situation and prevent exploitation of the Palestinian situation,” Ahmad said after a meeting with Sidon MP Bahia Hariri at her Majdalyoun residence Saturday evening.

Ahmad’s meeting with Hariri was attended by a Palestinian delegation including Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon Ashraf Dabbour, representatives of Palestine Liberation Organization factions and Fatah Movement Secretary Fathi Abu al-Ardat.

Mutual agreement on the need to protect Lebanon and its security was at the heart of the discussion with Hariri, he explained.

Ahmad, who is on a visit to Lebanon expressed his understanding of the delicate situation  :

“In my estimation, there are more fears in Lebanon than other countries. Let’s not forget that there’s an overlap between it and Syria, and it’s known how the situation in Syria is and what is going on on the Lebanese-Syrian border,” he said. “There were many previous attempts to exploit camps. And there are some internal political disputes in Lebanon and one of them is the vacuum due to the absence of a president.”

Lebanon has been without a president since the term of President Michel Sleiman ended in May 2014.

Ain al-Hilweh is the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. As the war in neighboring Syria deepened since its beginning in 2011, the camp made headlines due to security issues over fears it has been used as a safe haven for militants and a recruiting ground for extremism.

Lebanese authorities have warned Palestinian factions about schemes to destabilize Ain al-Hilweh, Palestinian sources disclosed Friday.

Ahmad’s visit to Sidon also included a meeting with Popular Nasserite Organization Secretary-General Osama Saad to discuss cooperation between different sides.

“We emphasize the cooperation between the different Palestinian and Lebanese factions in order to fortify the situation on all security, military, popular and social levels,” Saad said.

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