Lebanon will ask for 180 million dollars from Arab countries to assist refugees from Syria who have fled the turmoil in their country, An Nahar daily reported on Friday.
Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, who travels to Cairo on Sunday to chair the meeting of the Arab League Ministerial Council, has sent the organization's secretary-general Nabil al-Arabi a letter and a memo detailing the Lebanese request, a diplomatic source in the Egyptian capital said.
He later confirmed that he had sent the complete file over the refugees in Lebanon ahead of traveling to Cairo on Saturday.
“The file includes all the observations of the concerned ministries and their needs,” he added.
He revealed that Jordan had also proposed that the case of refugees on its land and in Iraq be discussed during the Cairo talks.
“We look forward to our Arab brothers responding to Lebanon's demands seeing as this is an issue that concerns fellow Arabs living in difficult conditions,” he stressed.
He confirmed that Lebanon needs 180 million dollars to meet the needs of the refugees, noting that their numbers have exceeded 200,000.
In addition, he said: “We are maintaining contacts with the Syrian authorities in order to find methods to ease the flow of refugees and facilitate their eventual return to their homeland.”
“Two neighboring countries cannot turn their backs to each other. This is not a political issue,” stated Mansour.
The diplomatic source told An Nahar that al-Arabi began handing over the copies of Mansour's letter that calls for the emergency meeting of the council and the memo that details the dangers of the refugee influx on Lebanon.
According to An Nahar, the memo calls for an additional 18 million dollars for UNRWA.
Mansour was informed last Sunday of the Arab League's agreement to hold the emergency meeting.
Last week, the Lebanese government approved a plan that includes urging donor countries to implement their pledges to extend aid to Lebanon.
It calls for urging the Arab League and international organizations to hold extraordinary meetings to highlight the situation of the refugees and for friendly countries to share with Lebanon the burden of the funding.
Among the measures included in the plan are the registration of all the refugees to ensure that they receive aid.
Commenting on the release of pro-Palestinian militant Georges Ibrahim Abdallah from jail, Mansour said: “The news of his release created relief in Lebanon on the official and popular levels, especially since he completed his sentence.”
He added that the French Interior Ministry contacted Abdallah's attorney to head to the ministry to be informed of the court ruling over his release and expulsion.
A French court on Thursday ruled Abdallah can be released on condition he is expelled from French territory.
The attorney will then head to the Lebanese Embassy in France where Abdallah will be given a Lebanese passport, explained Mansour.
The 61-year-old Lebanese national who has spent 28 years in jail and is a former guerrilla in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was granted parole in November on condition of his expulsion but was not released pending a decision on an appeal by prosecutors.
Abdallah was arrested in 1984 and sentenced to life in prison three years later for his involvement in the 1982 murders of U.S. military attache Charles Robert Ray and Israeli diplomat Yacov Barsimantov.
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