Miqati: Lebanon Can No Longer Support Burden of Syrian Refugees Aloneإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Prime Minister Najib Miqati stated on Monday that tackling the case of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has become a “very pressing” issue.
He said: “Lebanon can no longer support their burden alone.”
He made his remarks after chairing a meeting for donor countries that have provided aid to the Syrian refugees.
“We are confident that we will be able to achieve good progress to resolve all aspects of this case,” continued Miqati after the meeting that was held at the Grand Serail.
The government had placed a clear work plan that caters to the different needs of the displaced Syrians, explained the premier.
“The plan cannot be accomplished without your full support and there is a need for the international community to assist the refugees,” he stressed.
The meeting was attended by members of the ministerial committee tasked with following up on the case of Syrian refugees and it included Ministers Ali Hassan Khalil, Wael Abou Faour, Fayez Ghosn, and Marwan Charbel, the head of the Higher Relief Council Ibrahim Bashir, United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly, U.N. development program coordinator Robert Watkins, regional representative of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Nanette Kelly, European Union Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, and the ambassadors of various countries.
For his part, Abou Faour noted after the meeting: “As you all know differences over the situation in Syria have emerged in Lebanon, but we have reached consensus at cabinet that the case of Syrian refugees should be treated as a humanitarian cause, not a political one.”
“The Lebanese state must therefore perform its duties in full to assist and harbor the refugees in Lebanon,” the minister added.
He revealed that a total of $179,276,320 had been provided to the Syrian refugees in Lebanon by the various concerned ministries.
International donor countries later issued a statement welcoming the Lebanese government’s efforts to develop a comprehensive response plan to address the needs of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
“Donor countries commended the government’s engagement on the issue and its concerted efforts to develop its ‘Response Plan to the crisis of displaced Syrian and Lebanese families’, launched by Miqati on December 3,” it said.
Ambassadors from donor countries commended the government’s continued commitment to uphold international humanitarian principles, including by keeping open its borders to those fleeing violence in Syria and seeking shelter in Lebanon.
Events in Damascus over the past few days have highlighted the urgency of further strengthening the current response to refugees and preparing for any increase in the numbers of those fleeing violence in Syria.
The role of host communities in Lebanon has also been praised. Since the outset of the crisis in Syria in April 2011, host communities have played an integral role in providing protection and assistance to Syrians, which at times has placed a burden on communities, services and the local economy.
Donor countries also welcomed the current planning process underway, including the formalization of the ministerial committee established to address the challenges presented by displaced Syrians in Lebanon.
“As the scale of the refugee response grows, strong government leadership and clarity of the government response structures has become even more critical,” added the statement.
Donor countries undertook to consider and review the government’s plan and continue discussions on the detail of the Government’s planned response in the coming weeks, with a view to enhancing support to Lebanon. Donors are also anticipating the planned launch on December 19 of the United Nations Response Plan for Lebanon that will support the overall government response.
Donors said they will continue to stand by Lebanon and reaffirmed their commitment to support the overall response to the Syria crisis.