The Ministry of Agriculture announced that it dispatched a team to the area around the Monastery of Saint Anthony Qozhaya in the Qadisha Valley (Bsharri) where numerous trees have been chopped down. Following its report, the Ministry suspended the permit delivered to prune the trees “because its clauses have been violated.” In a press release, the Ministry stated that official reports had been drawn up against the offenders, who had been referred to the appropriate judicial authorities.

Sethrida Geagea, Member of Parliament for Bsharri, denounced on Monday “the ecological massacre” in the Qadisha Valley.

“The Qadisha Valley, which has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1998, has never been a simple natural site or ecological reserve. It represents our history and our roots,” reads the statement issued by Mrs. Geagea’s press office. According to her, the need to preserve it is not just a matter of “ecology, tourism and agriculture,” but is linked to the “identity” and “history” of the Maronites.

Recalling that since her election to Parliament in 2005, she has never hesitated to “take the necessary decisions to preserve the Holy Valley,” Mrs. Geagea pointed out that part of this valley falls within the Zgharta-Zawieh caza.

“And it is in this part that offenses are committed,” she emphasized, calling on the region’s deputies Tony Frangieh, Michel Moawad and Michel Douaihy, to “see to the application of the laws” relating to the preservation of the valley. She also called on the governor of Zgharta, Zeenny Kheir, to take “immediate and dissuasive measures” to “put an end to these offenses” and “enforce the laws.”

Sethrida Geagea also called on the ministries of Interior, the Environment and Culture “to act to put an end to this violation.” She also asked Ghassan Bassil, the Attorney General in charge of environmental affairs in North Lebanon, to “open an investigation” and punish offenders in accordance with the laws in force.