A SYRIAN minister involved in a visa row to get to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has been halted from attending.
The Church of Scotland said it is disappointed the Rev Rola Sleiman is not going to be able attend annual gathering after being prevented from boarding a flight in Lebanon on Thursday.
Ms Sleiman, who is the irst female Christian minister i the Aran world was earlier told in an eleventh hour move the Home Office reversed a visa ban on her visit when the British Embassy in Amman, Jordan, said that it would allow Rev Rola Sleiman, a representative of the National Evangelical (Protestant) Church of Syria and Lebanon, to travel to Scotland.
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However, Very Rev Dr John Chalmers, who is Principal Clerk to the General Assembly said: "This has been a regrettable situation.
"Ms Sleiman was forced to make a two hour journey from Beirut airport to her home in Tripoli last night after being turned back by officials.
"We accept the genuine efforts Home Office officials have made in recent days to overturn the original refusal to grant Ms Sleiman a visa, and it is unfortunate that the measures put in place were not sufficient to allow Ms Sleiman to board her flight.
"We had hoped to welcome Ms Sleiman to our gathering on Saturday, and hear first-hand the challenges facing the Christian community in the Middle East. It is a matter of real sorrow this will no longer be possible.”
“We have also just learned our delegate from South Sudan has been refused his visa to attend.
"This is a particular disappointment to me, given the continuing efforts I am engaging in to build peace in this young and troubled nation.
"I would like to urge the Home Office to review its visa process to ensure the United Kingdom’s international reputation as a place of welcome is not diminished.”