Miqati: Assistance to Syrian Refugees Can’t Come at Expense of Lebanon’s Securityإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Premier Najib Miqati has stressed that Lebanon’s sovereignty and security are priorities and cannot be sidestepped for the purpose of helping all Syrian refugees escaping the violence in their country.
Miqati told reporters who accompanied him to Brussels that Belgian and European Union officials asked him to provide assistance not only to the displaced Syrians in northern Lebanon but also to those in the eastern Bekaa valley.
“But we told the officials whom we’ve met that the issue of refugees should be settled through organized relations once calm returns to Syria,” he said in remarks that were released by his press office on Sunday.
“We can’t continue to deal with the issue at the expense of the security of Lebanon under the slogan of human rights,” he stressed. “The security and sovereignty of Lebanon are priorities that we can’t give up.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Friday an estimated 24,000 Syrians have been registered as refugees.
Miqati appeased fears that state employees might not receive their salaries if a $5.9 billion extra-budgetary spending bill was not approved, saying the cabinet tasked Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi to pay all the wages of civil servants.
Asked about the parliamentary elections in 2013, the premier said the polls would be held on time.
On the electoral law, he said: “The issue is currently a source of contention in Lebanese politics.”
“The government will carry out its duties in this regard through committing itself to the policy statement and sending the draft-law to parliament” which would later “take the appropriate decision,” he told reporters.
Lebanese politicians are bickering on what type of electoral law to adopt. While Hizbullah, Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement have voiced support for proportional representation, Al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri and Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat have rejected it.
The prime minister returned from his three-day visit to Brussels on Friday.