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Abbas to pay 3-day visit to Beirut

July 3, 2013 1:20 P.M. (Updated: July 4, 2013 3:06 P.M.)
BEIRUT (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to arrive in Lebanon on Wednesday for a three-day visit to discuss the issue of Palestinian refugees.

Palestinian flags and photos of the president have been placed along the roadside leading away from Beirut airport, a Ma'an correspondent said.

Abbas was invited to Lebanon by President Michel Suleiman and will meet with speaker of Lebanon's parliament Nabih Berri and other officials from prominent Lebanese political parties.

Abbas is expected to discuss recent sectarian violence in Lebanon related to the ongoing conflict in Syria and the position of Palestinian refugees in the country.

The president has urged Palestinian factions not to intervene in internal Lebanese affairs.

PA labor minister Ahmad Majdalani, Deputy PM Ziad Abu Amr, and Abbas aides Nabil Abu Rudeina and Majdi al-Khalidi will accompany the president during the visit.

Deputy secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Front Nathim al-Yousif told Ma'an he is optimistic about the visit and thanked Lebanon for its support to the Palestinian people.

Palestinians are "concerned about stability and security in Lebanon," he added.

The Syrian conflict has raised sectarian tensions in Lebanon, particularly between Shiite residents who back the regime of President Bashar Assad and Sunni Lebanese who support the Sunni-led uprising.

There are currently over 400,000 Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA in Lebanon and the fragile sectarian composition of Lebanese society makes their presence a sensitive issue.

Refugees in the country have long suffered discrimination and are deprived of basic rights.
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