Fatah chief says Resolution 1559 violates UN Charter - Qaddoumi stresses refugees' hardships
By Mohammed Zaatari - Daily Star Staff
SIDON: Chief of Fatah's Central Committee Farouk Qaddoumi said the Palestinian leadership considered that UN Security Council Resolution 1559 violated the UN Charter and constituted an interference in Lebanese and Syrian internal affairs.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday on the sidelines of a visit to the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, Qaddoumi said Palestinian weapons were there for self-defense only, adding that Palestinians would keep them until they regain their rights, mainly the right of return.
In his first visit to the camp, Qaddoumi seemed embarrassed and was surrounded by tight security measures.
Qaddoumi, who refused to speak to reporters at first, was received by Fatah officials led by Fatah's Secretary Khaled Aref and a delegation from the Palestine Liberation Front, the only Palestinian faction who participated in the meeting.
Qaddoumi said the Palestinian leadership was in direct contact with Lebanese authorities to solve pending issues.
"We call for reducing the plight of the Palestinian people ... as it would contribute to developing ties (between Lebanon and the Palestinians)," he said.
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live in precarious conditions. They do not have social and civil rights and have very limited access to the government's public health or educational facilities.
Qaddoumi stressed the hardships faced by refugees, describing their situation as "unacceptable" and said the Palestinian leadership was trying its best to improve that situation.
He said Palestinians should not and will not interfere in internal Lebanese affairs between the opposition and loyalists. "We will not interfere. They (loyalists and the opposition) know how to handle their issues."
Asked about attempts to settle Palestinian refugees permanently in Lebanon, Qaddoumi reiterated his government's position, which stresses its keenness on the right of return.
"The right of return is a more important issue than the establishment of a Palestinian state, and we will always strive to assert that right," he said.
Qaddoumi said the issue of opening a Palestinian embassy in Beirut is postponed due to the current situation in Lebanon.
Replying to a question, he said no changes would affect the Fatah movement in Lebanon.