Abou Faour Rejects Formation of Committee that 'Hands Syrian Opposition Refugees to Regime'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour stated that the recent proposal to establish a joint Lebanese-Syrian committee to deal with the conditions of the Syrian refugees “has raised fears in Lebanon,” reported the daily An Nahar on Sunday.
He told the daily: “We refuse the formation of a committee that may lead to handing over of Syrian opposition members to the Syrian regime.”
To that end, he revealed that he had contacted President Michel Suleiman, Prime Minister Najib Miqati, and Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour to clarify claims of the formation of such a committee.
The foreign minister denied reports that such a body would be formed, said the minister.
“This proposal entails holding talks with a side that is behind the Syrian crisis,” said Abou Faour in indirect reference to the Syrian regime.
On the possible formation of the joint committee, he noted: “We are not in need of another issue that will cause more political disputes.”
“The current debates should lead us to affirm our position in dealing with the refugee file from a humanitarian approach and away from politics,” he stressed.
On aid to the refugees fleeing Syria to Lebanon, the minister revealed that Germany is committed to granting $20 million in aid to the displaced, while the European Union is seeking to make a “sizable” donation, the bulk of which will be directed to the refugees in Lebanon.
In addition, Kuwait is preparing to hold a meeting for donor countries in order to present more aid to the refugees, he said.
Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) reported on Friday that Lebanon is seeking to establish a joint Lebanese-Syrian committee to deal with the conditions of the Syrian refugees across the country.
It said that Mansour discussed with Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali a proposal to establish the committee that will be tasked with tackling the issue of Syrian refugees.
According to the latest report issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 170,637 Syrian refugees have been registered in Lebanon while reports say that around 50,000 are still not registered.
The cabinet agreed on Thursday to urge the Arab League and international organizations to hold extraordinary meetings to highlight the situation of the refugees.
Mansour had also called on Arab League General Secretary Nabil al-Arabi to hold an urgent session to support Lebanon's efforts to aid the refugees on its territories.
Arabi informed him that he will perform all necessary calls with Arab ministers to hold a meeting on the situation of refugees in Lebanon in the coming days.