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Lebanon (Christian Community)

Volume 79: debated on Wednesday 22 May 1985

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6.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contact he has had with the Syrian and Lebanese Governments concernin the plight of the Christian community in the Lebanon.

We deplore the continuing violence in different areas of Lebanon. Her Majesty's embassies have been in touch with leaders of the Lebanese communities and the Lebanese, Syrian and Israeli Governments to express our concern about the recent fighting in the Sidon-Jezzine area between Moslem and Christian groups.

Will the Minister of State confirm that it is the Syrian-backed Druze, Shi'ite and Palestinian militias who have been responsible for the attacks upon Christian communities in the Lebanon? What is being done to aid the 50,000 Christian refugees?

It is a matter of the greatest urgency that the various communities in the Lebanon—both Christians and Moslems of all confessions—should find a way to live with each other again, otherwise, there will be continuing casualties and abuses of human rights.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the Christian community in the Lebanon is, sadly, as responsible as any other for the situation in the Lebanon today? Does he further agree that if the Lebanese factions do not think very soon about the Lebanon they will have no country to think about?

I do not think that it would be proper for me to apportion blame between communities for the present condition in the Lebanon, save to say that it is extremely serious and that if the Lebanon is to survive, which is in both the national interest and the interests of this country, it is essential for those communities to reconcile their differences.