Minister of National Defense, Elias Bou Saab, on Monday held a security meeting with Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, and State Security General Director, Tony Saliba, and discussed with both men the issue of illegal crossings along the Lebanese border with Syria.

Resolving the issue of illegal border crossings is strictly political; the demarcation of the border with Syria requires cooperation between the Lebanese and the Syrian armies in a bid to reduce smuggling, Bou Saab told the press.

Bou Saab explained that today’s meeting was a preliminary one prior to a security meeting expected to be held next Wednesday with Prime Minister Saad Hariri and all the concerned security apparatuses, as well as Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, Interior Minister Raya Al-Hassan, and the Minister of Defense.

I would like to clarify the fact that crossings in major countries can not be fully controlled; the issue of borders is very complicated, especially that a big part of the bordering area with Syria is mountainous and wide, as there are overlapping areas between Syria and Lebanon, Bou Saab explained.

It can be said that the army has closed more than 140 crossings, or about 95 percent of these crossings(…)which is an achievement for the army. There are also 74 army border checkpoints established in cooperation with foreign aid,” he added.

Of course, activating monitoring activities requires first and foremost a political decision and then additional equipment for the army, especially since the area is difficult to access, the Minister added, noting, however, that smuggling up to $ 2.5 billion doesn’t take place through illegal crossings.

In my capacity as the Minister of Defense, I have made three visits to the bordering area, and I have data and facts in my hands. There will be a new list of all the crossings that have been closed and the crossings that are exposed, and I will present it during the first session of the Supreme Defense Council, Bou Saab concluded.

Source: National News Agency

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Minister of National Defense, Elias Bou Saab, on Monday held a security meeting with Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, and State Security General Director, Tony Saliba, and discussed with both men the issue of illegal crossings along the Lebanese border with Syria. Resolving the issue of illegal border crossings...