Speaker Nabih Berri said Sunday that the United States cannot persuade Lebanon to permanently settle Palestinian refugees in the country with billions of dollars in investments, in the first reaction from Lebanon to a newly unveiled plan for Middle East peace.
“The only investment that has no [place] in Lebanon is any investment at the expense of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people’s right to return to their land and establish their independent state, with Jerusalem as its capital,” Berri said, according to a statement from his office.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner discussed during an interview with Retuers Saturday a $50 billion Palestinian investment and infrastructure proposal as part of the U.S. administration's “deal of the century” Middle East peace plan.
The plan includes large sums of money for Jordan and Lebanon, countries with large Palestinian refugee populations, in an apparent attempt to have them absorbed into these nations.
According to White House documents reviewed by Reuters and described by Kushner and his aides, the plan calls for projects worth about $28 billion in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, $9 billion to Egypt, $7.5 billion to Jordan and $6 billion for Lebanon.
Berri said Kushner was “mistaken if he thinks waving billions of dollars can tempt Lebanon – struggling under a [difficult] economic crisis – to comply or trade in its [principles].” The speaker added that Lebanon will continue to reject the permanent settlement of Palestinian refugees and “resist with our Palestinian brothers through every lawful resistance method.”
Kushner is set to present his “peace to prosperity” plan at an upcoming international conference in Bahrain.
Lebanon rejected an invitation to attend the U.S.-sponsored conference, which will convene on Tuesday and Wednesday.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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