The Lebanese Minister of Interior said that to protect the national team, an armed Emirati security delegation raises controversy in Lebanon

Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam al-Mawlawi said today, Sunday, that “the Emirati security team, which arrived at Rafic Hariri Airport in Beirut with weapons, came to Lebanon to secure the protection and support of the UAE football team,” which is playing a match with its Lebanese counterpart next Tuesday.

The Lebanese minister’s clarification came in a tweet to him on Twitter, after Lebanese activists and bloggers questioned on social media platforms why the Emirati security team arrived at Rafic Hariri Airport with weapons.

The bloggers, in a series of tweets, wondered why the Lebanese Ministry of Interior had agreed to accompany an armed security team to the Emirati athletes, especially since the incident came days after the Lebanese security inspected the Iranian players when they entered the airport because of their “huge” bags.

Some activists considered that this step belittles Lebanon and is a violation of its sovereignty. Activist Sahar al-Atrash tweeted, “Why do you do (what is the work of) the Lebanese security services, Mr. Lebanese Minister of Interior?”

In turn, the follower Ahmed Yassin wrote, “I mean, by Bassam Mawlawi’s standards, the Minister of Interior, we can hire a security team after obtaining his approval because he does not trust himself or the apparatus. “The Iranian has a lot of bags and a nuclear reactor smuggler.”

Following the wide interactions and reactions across the platforms, Interior Minister Bassam al-Mawlawi explained in a tweet that “the Emirati security team came to Lebanon to secure the protection and escort of the Emirati football team, which is playing a match with the Lebanese national team next Tuesday.”

He added in a subsequent tweet, “This was before the security team’s arrival in Lebanon, obtaining approval from both the Ministry of National Defense and the Lebanese Army Command to enter the weapons that were verified before their entry, provided that the same procedure takes place when the security delegation leaves Lebanon.”

The UAE team will visit its Lebanese counterpart tomorrow, Tuesday, in the fifth round of the final qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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