YEREVAN. – Still a year ago, we were receiving disturbing news from Lebanon, from the local Armenian community, and this explosion already became the reason for Armenia’s representative to get acquainted on the spot—both with the problems caused by the explosion and from the past. Armenia’s High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Zareh Sinanyan, said this at the press conference Friday, referring to his recent visit to Lebanon.
He noted that during the visit, he had had meetings with representatives of the Lebanese Armenian community, and visited the apartments of the Armenians affected by last week’s powerful and deadly explosion in Beirut to assess the damage caused.
Touching upon the topic of repatriation, Sinanyan noted that it is not correct to say that the Armenian government pursues a policy of repatriation towards Lebanese Armenians. "To say such a thing means that we [Armenia] are in the role of dictating, we are creating a situation that people want to come to Armenia. Regardless of our will, a situation has been created in Lebanon, as a result of which people want to come to Armenia," he added.
Sinanyan added that in 2019, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation had conducted a survey among Lebanese Armenians, as a result of which it turned out that 58% of respondents said they would leave Lebanon in the coming years, and 49% said they intended to move to Armenia; this survey was conducted among 521 Lebanese Armenians.
The diaspora commissioner of Armenia also noted that at present, 25,000 Lebanese Armenians were citizens of the Republic of Armenia.