Lebanon ARF Condemns Israeli Attacks Call for Community Unity

BEIRUT–YEREVAN (Aztag–Armenpress)–The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee of Lebanon issued an announcement Monday condemning the Israeli bombing of Lebanon and "infringing on Lebanon’s sovereignty," reported the Beirut-based Aztag daily newspaper.

The announcement called on "the international community and humanitarian organizations to immediately intervene in order to suppress Israel’s attacks against Lebanon."

The Lebanon ARF Central Committee concluded by announcing that its affiliate relief–social service and humanitarian organizations were prepared to take in all Lebanese refugees who have been displaced by the bombings.

In Yerevan–some 160 Armenian nationals and dozens of other residents of Lebanon have been evacuated to Armenia’since the start of Israel’s devastating strikes against the war-torn nation–officials there said on Tuesday–reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry–just over a hundred of them were airlifted to Yerevan from the Syrian city of Aleppo on board an Armenian passenger jet early in the morning.

"The Armenian consulate in Aleppo was directly involved in the effort–accompanying this group of people from the Lebanese border to Aleppo yesterday," a ministry spokesman–Vladimir Karapetian–told RFE/RL. "Then the group headed to Armenia by air."

Karapetian said most of these evacuees are Lebanese citizens–many of them of Armenian descent–as well as other foreigners. Less than half of them are citizens of Armenia–he added.

The Foreign Ministry estimates that there were approximately 1,200 Armenian nationals residing in Lebanon at least before the start of the Israeli military campaign a week ago. Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan on Thursday held an emergency meeting with high-ranking government officials to discuss ways of organizing their repatriation. A government statement quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Gegham Gharibjanian as saying at the meeting that two Armenian diplomats have already been sent to Lebanon and Syria to assist in the effort.

The head of the Armenian government’s civil aviation department–Artyom Movsesian–suggested that the Armavia national airline will have to carry out additional flights to Aleppo and Damascus to cope with a "large number of those willing to arrive in Armenia." Markarian agreed–saying that the government is ready to partly subsidize the extra flights–according to the statement.

"I wouldn’t say there is a widespread desire [to escape to Armenia] at the moment," said Karapetian. "Nonetheless–our embassy there does receive such requests."

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